Butterflies :: All a flutter in home decor this Spring

Dinnerware by Richard Cohen Collection used by Kati Curtis for DIFFA
Image via Live the Life You Dream About- photo by Roberto Richi

I've been watching as wallpaper has been making a huge comeback over the past couple of years. We're not talking about our grandmother's country cottage paper of the 1950s or even the flouncy, floral papers popularized by Laura Ashley in the 1980s. Today's wallpapers are bold, full of personality. They're statement pieces, and focal points. Today's wallpapers are not for the timid. As we've seen a movement to fun, bright colors, bold stripes and shapes, and whimsical images, we're also seeing a return of flora and fauna. But today's flowers take center stage, as do the animals. As we return to the garden I've been noticing butterflies all over the place. These beautiful winged creatures are showing up on fabric, wallpaper, dinnerware - in all areas of the home.  Will these fluttering creatures stay around for a while or will they fly away?

Butterfly wallpaper by Osborne and Little

Wallpaper by Fromental

Teapot by Christian Lacroix

Home Accessories by Christian Lacroix

via Houzz

Wallpaper by Julien Macdonald

Wallpaper by Lulu deKwiatkowski for Matouk

Lulu DK

Mackenzie Childs

Wallpaper Farfalla by Nina Campbell

Wallpaper by Schumacher


Choosing my religion :: Converted Churches

via New England Home

I wrote, last week, about my love of lofty spaces and my desire to own an artsy yet elegant and eclectic loft in downtown New York City where I could entertain elegantly and write and paint and photograph casually. A free spirit who doesn't much like to be confined by walls, rules or anything for that matter, the loft is a perfect space for a personality like mine. I've always thought it would be such fun to transform an old abandoned church and turn it into a lofty peaceful living space. It's got nothing to do with religion, for I am one of the least religious people you will meet, but much more to do with the space and the architecture. There's no room for confinement as in these wonderful conversions you can literally spread your wings and fly. In the images that I have chosen many have chosen to stay true to the building's original architectural style and many others have done a total conversion, adding a modern, minimalist touch. To keep the stained glass or to remove it to allow daylight to pour in from outside? To remain true to the original architecture or to modernize it? To fill the spaces or to keep them open? While I admire the modern touch and new life breathed into these old edifices, I prefer the old architecture, for what attracts me to these spaces is not merely their size and expanse, but the sense of history both within and beyond the walls. Can I have both, I wonder? I'd love a loft in the city and a converted church in the country... I'd love to have you as my guest. Which would you prefer to visit?

via Exterior Portfolio
via Curbed
via Visi
via Knoll
via Gossip Rocks
via Curbed
via Inhabitat
via CNN
via Maison Belle
via Howes and Rigby
via Blue Room Architecture
via The New York Times
via Pinterest, original source unlocatable 
via Chameleon Interiors
via Nicholas Matheus

Jessica

Stylish Notes on Decor :: How to add instant color and a touch of Spring to your home right now!


via expressdecor.com

Another snowstorm is coming. I can hardly stand it. I can't take anymore cold wet and white. I can't take anymore shoveling. I can't take anymore muddy, sandy, grimy floors. I can't take any more of these layers. I want it to stop! I want it to stop right now! But it won't... Mother Nature's playing with us - and she's not playing fair in my opinion. And so today is the 1st day in March. They say that March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. Lambs sure are cute... but I digress. I'm in a rush... I'm in a rush to get Spring here. I wish I could hurry it along but alas I cannot. I can sit and wait patiently. I can sit and watch the snow fall... again! But before I do, before I rush out to the store to get more milk, wood and wine, I will pick up some flowers. I will add some Springtime to the inside of my home. It will make it look better. It will make me feel better! I adore flowers. They are nature's perfection - a quiet and simple magic, if you will. They can lift our moods and our spaces. They add instant color, pop and appeal to any space. So, why don't you add some flowers to your shopping list? They needn't be expensive or elaborate. A simple trip to the grocery store or Trader Joe's will do!


via Mark D Sikes

via Cottages and Gardens


Better Homes and Gardens

Better Homes and Gardens

If you have some cherry blossoms or forsythia in your back yard, cut some branches and bring them inside before the snow falls. Watch as they bloom indoors over the next couple of days!

Jessica

Stylish Notes on Decor :: "Love how you live" - My interview with Lillian August


A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending a special press event for design bloggers to celebrate Lillian August's 25th Anniversary. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the person and the brand, here's a brief introduction.

It all started in the early 1980s when Lillian started selling crafts and patchwork quilts. Tapped by Imperial Wallcoverings to design a wallpaper line with an iconic American Country look, her career soon took off. Shortly thereafter Lillian moved to New York City to continue to build on this success and to begin the search for a retail location for her home furnishings and textile business, and would end up calling tony, Westport, Connecticut home. The store opened and a family business was founded. The year was 1987.

Since then, under the leadership of her two forward-thinking, visionary sons, Dan and John Weiss, Lillian August, the brand, has become a trend-setting resource for designers, homeowners and all design enthusiasts. There are currently 6 Lillian August stores, 3 of which are in connecticut;The Flagship store - The Norwalk Design Center, the South Norwalk outlet store, and the newest member of the family in Greenwich. There are also stores in New York City and in Los Angeles. Each location carries many notable brands as well as her own, the Lillian August Signature Collection, and as well as one she recently introduced for Hickory White, which is available throughout the United States. Over the years the Lillian August brand has become synonymous with unique home design and home furnishings.







After meeting Lillian and touring her flagship store in person I wanted to get to know more about the woman behind the brand. I was thrilled when she agreed to an interview.

JGR: What inspires you everyday?

LA: My family and my family business inspire me everyday. I work in a wonderful field with the word home in it - Home furnishings. That inspires me!

JGR: You're now celebrating your 25th Anniversary. Where do you see your company and your brand in the next 25 years?

LA: We're ever changing and ever evolving. Entrepreneurship means constantly reinventing yourself and your brand. We want to continue to bring the fashion and design sensibility we love to all and to keep adapting and changing to accommodate the needs for home and fashion.



JGR: What's your favorite trend of the moment?

LA: Today's decorating is so expressive and a mix of many periods and styles. It's the era of the interior designer. People want an extremely well put together home but very few can pull it off themselves. This is hard to do if you are not a professional. We offer our clients access to the best designers.

JGR: What's your least favorite trend at the moment?

LA: Beige fabric for a quick fix.



JGR: What's been your company's greatest obstacle?

LA: I don't think we've had many. We've been very lucky. When I think about the ability to change and adapt, we've done a pretty good job. My sons have been the driving force for us. In most family businesses the company's founder is generally the decision maker but I let my sons make the decisions and our stores really reflect their visions - the excitement of their generation. They have reinvented retail that way. I have been very open to their visions. I hope we are a family of good listeners. That's most important in business and in life today.



JGR: What has been your greatest achievement?

LA: The fact that we're still in business after 25 years is our greatest achievement especially since many furniture companies have not survived. The constantly changing business world is something that is a challenge and we have been able to keep up with the needs and demands of the times.  Being involved with the design process, the manufacturing process and all the shows has opened our eyes and we've been able to see beyond retail. We've gotten a dynamic view.

JGR: When did you realize that you'd really arrived, that your name Lillian August was synonymous with a well respected brand?


LA: When I had a quilt business I was asked to do wall coverings for Imperial which became #1 in sales. That is what launched my career - it was the early 1980s. With every wall covering book I needed come up with a fabric line and that established me and my brand in the textiles industry. I literally started on my kitchen table. Laura Ashley was so popular back then and I used that as my model. Our store in Westport was right down the street from theirs and both stores were so tiny. We had some clothes in the front of ours that I designed. They were made in Canada. When Joanne Woodward came in and bought some fabric I knew we were going to make it! Westport was very good for us. We were in the right place at the right time.




JGR: If you could do anything in the world, or be anything in the world, other than what you're doing now, what would it be?

LA: I don't have any dreams. Work is fine - I believe in hard work. As a divorced woman I always encourage women to think of themselves financially - you never know when you are going to have to support yourself. I love the people I work with.

JGR: What's the one thing you can't live without?


LA: The New York Times. I must read it and I must read it outside. I live in Florida during the winter and I make a point of getting outside with my paper. I get my vitamin D that way! The rest of the day I'm inside and working or in front of the computer. 




Lillian also told me that social media is very important to the company and the brand. She hopes that they soon will be a destination site for information as well as shopping. An ecommerce site is set to be launched momentarily. "We live in an age where people want information so desperately and they want to have the right information. We have that information and we have a lot of it, and we will find a way to get it all out there for them."

***

If you live in the area or plan a visit to the area we hope you will stop by one of the locations. They are fun and magical and will appeal to all of your senses. Whether you are looking for something small or something large, Lillian August has just what you are looking for. Please visit their website for more information on their lines, products, stores and in-house designers. They also have a wonderful digital magazine filled with ideas to further inspire you!

I'd like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Lillian for taking the time from her hectic schedule to talk with me.

Jessica

* all images courtesy Lillian August

Stylish notes on decor :: The golden rules

ElleDecor

Gold seems to be everywhere these days - in fact, metallic hues have been quite the rage over the past couple of years . We're not talking crazy, over-the-top opulent like Versailles - though there's plenty of that too. I've been drawn to it more as an accent or complementary color given to add a little bit of pop or pizazz to a space.  Gold can brighten up and warm up your space. Whether it's a painted wall, ceiling, or cabinets or an accessory such as a lighting fixture, frame or coffee table you'll soon realize that you've been seeing this metallic color popping up all over the place lately. It seems to be having a universal appeal, finding comfort in all sorts of homes from classic to contemporary, sophisticated to whimsical - in fact, I think there's something both sophisticated and whimsical about a room that's painted gold. Depending on how bold and adventurous you are, or want to be, you can paint the town gold or you can add a little burst here and there. Gold is the perfect color to work with as it really looks divine with every color there is - from bold to neutral, black to white. Maybe gold walls aren't for you, think about your accessories - coffee tables, lamps, bowls, vases, frames, fixtures and hardware. I love this color because it adds instant sophistication. Below, see how even the modest gold light fixture can completely transform a room.  I've even included a couple of very simple DIY projects for you to do yourself, so go ahead and take a look, and tell me what you think!


Bic and Simonato Interiors

Babble

Wilson Kelsey Designs

House Beautiful

House Beautiful

Jean Louis Denicot

via Tumblr

via Naptime Designs

via Houzz

via Ralph Lauren

New York Interior Design

via Beautiful Mess Nest

via Brighton the Day

via Golden Rules

I don't' know about you but I now want to dip (or spray paint) everything I own into some gold!

Jessica


Stylish notes on decor :: The kitchen floor

Lonny

Not long ago I started pinning my dream kitchens on Pinterest. While each kitchen was completely unique in style - modern, rustic, elegant, casual... Some had papered or vaulted or wood or glass ceilings. Some were white, others more colorful - some bright, some pale, some dark. Some were large, others were small. Some had an industrial feel, others a more down to earth country feel.  I noticed there was a common thread, however. Each kitchen had a rug. Not a simple area rug where one would stand to cook or do dishes. But large, powerful, bold statement pieces. These rugs don't scream "don't tread on me" but rather come step upon me... let me offer you comfort and softness underfoot.

I love to cook and when I do I am often on my feet for hours. I am also always barefoot. In my home we always take off our shoes upon entry. We're barefoot and carefree. But some kitchen floors are quite hard to stand on, and therefore many flooring options are quite lovely, but not terribly comfortable for the avid home cook. We'll save that for another day. And while I love the aesthetic of these rugs, I love the comfort level they provide as well. I wonder, however, how practical these rugs are with kids. My kids, after all, spill. They spill a lot. And hard surfaces are easy to clean up. This is for certain. But I would love to incorporate a rug - or two! - into my kitchen... I think maybe the trick, for me, is to get something that can withstand the children and the wear and tear... I love the look of the orientals...Perhaps I can check out local consignment stores... I do love the look of the cowhides (middle and bottom picture) the best, but those are not practical with my little animals!

Apartment Therapy

Best and Company

Pinterest

Greige Magazine

High Gloss

Lonny

Canadian House and Home

Pinterest

Lonny

Do you have rugs on your kitchen floors? Would you consider this for your own home?

XOXO,
Jessica

Skirting the issue :: Dressing up your tables

Architectural Digest

I love floor-length table cloths (really, I see no use for any other length!) and table skirts. They dress up an ordinary table and bring it to another level of sophistication and elegance. Something so simple can really change up a space and give it a whole new character. It can add a perfect pop of color as well. I love these more in less formal spaces. I equate them to ballgown skirts which I also adore. But in my ballgown skirt I'd much prefer to wear flip flops or go barefoot than walk around in uncomfortable heels... it's my version of casual, comfortable elegance!

What's more - these are ideal, particularly, for smaller spaces. These are ideal for homes without much storage. A skirted table can conceal a fair amount and create a fashionable yet functional space. A table skirt added to a home office desk can conceal office clutter and the many and varied wires found lurking in these spaces. Pedestal sinks in bathrooms can be dressed up, as can lower kitchen cupboards. Side tables, sofa tables, even chairs gain an added elegance!


The Skirted Roundtable

Honey Colins Interior Design

Ron Blunt Photography

via Habitually Chic

via Pinterest

Woman's Day
For more skirted table (among other) ides please visit my Pinterest Board.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

XOXO,

Jessica



Break the rules & paint your ceiling black!

via Decor Pad

I'm a firm believer that rules are meant to be broken - they should be broken! I come from a line of female rule breakers... at least when it comes to decorating. It's so important, in decorating, as well as in life, to take a chance, to step out of that comfort zone and have some fun. And who made up that silly rule about ceilings? Why should my ceilings be white or pastel anyhow? It was believed that a dark ceiling would give the illusion of making a room seem shorter, smaller. And, to that I say two things. First, I say who cares? There's something so intimate, cozy and relaxing about a small space. And secondly I say hogwash! (Did I really actually use the word hogwash?)  They really don't. In fact when I look up at a dark ceiling, particularly a black one, I see no end... Much like looking up into the endless sky at night, which is really a marvelous thing to look at. 

I love walking into a home that has an air of surprise or whimsy - a home that's gutsy, elegant, daring, dramatic and different... That's exactly what a black ceiling conveys. 


original source unknown, via Pinterest

Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

via Lizette Marie Interior Design

via Johan Kalen photography

via Harper's Bazaar

via Details, A Design Firm

original unknown, via Pinterest

via Jessica Gordon Ryan/The Entertaining House

via McGill Design Group

Would you consider painting your ceiling black?

XOXO,

Jessica

Vintage trunks :: Perfect Pieces of Furniture

via First Dibs

I'm not really all that certain when my fascination for old trunks began. I believe I was in my 20s when I saw and fell in love with a grand old steamer trunk. It was so stately, elegant, and masculine. I was living in Greenwich (Connecticut) in a very small walk up apartment with two roommates.We barely had enough room for the furniture we already had, let alone trying to find a place for anything else. 

A couple of years later, engaged and in a larger home, my then fiance and I had been to an antique store in a remote-ish part of Rhode Island where I saw and fell in love with yet another trunk. This one, less grand and less ornate, I knew immediately would become our coffee table. It's served as such for over 15 years now and remains, to this day, one of my most favorite pieces of furniture. Trunks are so versatile and can be used in so many ways. In addition to serving as a elegant substitute for a table, they are wonderful sources for creating extra storage space. 


via Emily Henderson, HGTV

via Homestead Revival

via Pinterest

via Country Living

Via Serena Crawford

via Suzan Hadaway Design

via Chesterfield Interiors

via Houzz


We immediately had a large, thick piece of glass cut to size and placed over the top of the trunk so that it would not get damaged from beverages and children. I would highly recommend you do the same as well.

XOXO,
Jessica


Country Living's 2013 House of the Year :: Stylish Notes on Decor



I was contacted by the folks at Hearst Magazine yesterday. They wanted to know whether I would share with my readers Country Living's 2013 House of the Year. After learning what it was, and why it was indeed so very special, how could I not want to share it with all of you? I wrote back immediately and put my scheduled post on hold.

Country Living's 2013 House of the Year is a very special house indeed - with a very special story.
After Hurricane Sandy hit and devastated the New York/New Jersey and Connecticut areas, the folks at Country Living sought to redo a cottage that had been overcome by the flooding.  They chose to redo Marian Lizzy's 1,000 square foot bungalow located in Breezy Point, New York. This incredible renovation headed by Emily Henderson, Deary Construction, and several members of the Country Living Team has turned an incredible tragedy into a symbol of hope and possibility.

In the photos below, you will see a most incredible transformation.


This is what Marian Lizzy's neighborhood looked like after Sandy hit...



While her own house still stood erect after the storm, it was uninhabitable due to the incredible flooding.



Here the team breaks through and removes all the waterlogged and soon to be moldy drywall...



Whatever can be salvaged, including structural pieces of wood will be. But first it must be aired out and thoroughly dried. 
 


New cabinetry is put into place... 
And eventually, the house is complete!






Isn't it fantastic? As a coastal resident in nearby Fairfield County, Connecticut whose town also saw devastation and destruction left by Sandy, this project thrills me to no end. My children and I helped local senior citizens whose houses too had been ravaged by severe flooding. If we could have done more, we absolutely would have! I applaud Country Living, Emily Henderson, the team and all the sponsors who stepped in to help turn a tragic event into one of joy and hope and promise!

Please head on over to Country Living to meet the team, tour the house, learn about the products and sponsors, and see many more inspiring photographs! This issue will be on newsstands on August 6th.

XOXO,

Jessica

*All photographs courtesy Country Living/Alec Hemer

Nauti by Nature :: Stylish Notes on Decor

via Completely Coastal


I adore the sea - I'm drawn to the sea and I live near the sea. I do like my home to be reflective of my surroundings, but not in an over the top way. I have definitely inherited a less is more style when it comes to my home. My grandmother was a minimalist, that I certainly am not, but I do think sometimes one or two statement pieces is much more effective than a "themed" room. Themes can become overkill much too quickly and in my opinion are best left to children's rooms.

In the pictures above, and below, you will notice how powerful a simple statement piece or two can be to evoke a certain mood.

via Completely Coastal

original source unknown, via Pinterest

via Props and Styling

via House Beautiful

via Houzz

via NE Home


I also love these two photos below. How is it that I had never thought to place a few shells in a bowl with flowers? And a simple grouping of like glass jars filled with sand, river rocks and driftwood is so easily replicated. If you have children let them help you amass these items!


via Pottery Barn



via Pinterest

Have a wonderful Monday and week ahead!

XOXO,
Jessica


Mapping it out :: Stylish Notes on Decor



Maps are lovely and beautiful and therefore make for perfect wall art. Older, rarer maps bring us to times and places we've never known and have only heard about. Modern maps often evoke memories of vacations much enjoyed and serve as nostalgic symbols or they can cause us to pause for a moment and daydream about all those magical places we hope to travel to one day. I love maps as wall art. They can be an inexpensive way to decorate and fill up empty wall space which is perfect for the younger set just setting out, while rarer, vintage maps can positively accentuate the more established home filled with antiques and collectibles. Maps, whether framed, unframed or in the form of wallpaper add an instant personality to your space. So the next time you travel someplace, whether near or far, why not pick up a map?












XOXO,

Jessica

Notes on decor :: The Color Purple

via New England Home

I grew up in colorful homes. Where most of my friends' homes boasted white or cream or pale lemon walls, the ones in my home were bright bold, happy and sophisticated.

As I sit around my small, temporary, rental home, thinking of topics to write about I am struck by the whiteness of it all. At first I welcomed these walls devoid of color. They were calm, tranquil, peaceful... but my ADD personality soon grew bored with them. Now I could paint every room in this house, but I would have to repaint them back and since I have no idea how long I will be here for, I'm quite certain that's an expense I would like to avoid at the moment. Accent pieces, furniture, pillows, rugs, flowers are taking care of my color fix at the moment. But I do wonder how much longer I will be able to refrain myself...

I saw a photograph on Pinterest the other day that caught my attention. The above a room painted in purple. (Not wild, crazy, hallucinogenic purple, but a calmer, more peaceful, more subdued violet.) The room had a graceful sophistication - This purple worked. I loved it!

I searched around for more images of purple rooms that seemed not to scream children's playroom, cheap motel, amusement park, disco or brothel... because purple can be tough to work with... Let's be honest, purple can be cheap and tacky. But the images I found show purple to be graceful and elegant... soothing and yet energizing... mature and sophisticated, yet youthful and whimsical.

via The Brooklyn Company

via Architectural Digest

ElleDecor

via House Beautiful

via Tumblr

Would you consider the color purple?

XOXO,

Jessica

Skip to Ma Loo, My Darling :: Interior Decor

I'm always on the lookout for inspiration whether it be on the fashion front or the home front. I like to share the things that I like and the things that inspire me... I like to share a good find. It's how I am and how I've always been. I was perusing a myriad of websites the other day looking for articles for features that I will be writing about as well as ideas for here... and then I happened across this picture. I wasn't sure exactly what to make of it. I wasn't sure whether I loved it or not... whether I thought it was fantastically brilliant or incredibly insane... I had a good long look at it. And then I looked at it some more. And then some more. I wondered whether I would like this in my home. I am quite certain I couldn't ever "go" there!

Bathroom in an old elevator shaft, ok how awesome
Source
This loo was built in an old elevator shaft!
It is fanstastically clever, but could you ever? Really?

XOXO,

Jessica

Green with Envy :: Decorating with Green

Tory Burch's Living Room. In love with all of the green...especially that sofa!
Tory Burch's Living Room via Habitually Chic

Truth be told I disliked green for many years. I really don't know why but it never sat quite right with me. If you had asked me what my favorite color was I most likely would have said blue. Pale blues (and now bright and darker blues) have been my favorites for years. Blue (more specifically periwinkle) was my bedroom color in two of my past homes. It was tranquil, soothing and relaxing. My bedroom became my oasis, my sanctuary. The rest of my home was painted in bright and energetic colors. It wasn't until my last home that I decided to use the color green. I'd always grown up with green kitchens. My mother's kitchens were green as were her mother's. So when I looked to repaint the kitchen in my last home I looked to green, naturally.

I love the look below of the dark green, rich woods and the white subway tile, but our cabinets had more of a yellow undertone to them, and not blue... so I would need to find a brighter green.

Dark Green Kitchens | House & Home
via Canadian House and Home


Green kitchens
via Attic Mag

The green above (how I love that tile) resembles the green that I used to paint my walls. I had chosen Benjamin Moore's Leaf Green and it fit the room perfectly. We had a large eating space with large bay windows and large skylights overhead that looked over the large backyard that was bordered by thick, tall pines. It was almost as thought we were dining outside. The green paint was a way of bringing the outdoors inside... and this is when green became a favorite color of mine. Peaceful, energetic and at one with nature are the feelings that this room evoked.

I've since moved and I'm in a rental for the moment. While lovely and charming and full of character, (my home was built in 1941) the antique white walls are crisp and refreshing but they lack the personality and energy I am so used to. Of course I could paint, but then I would have to paint everything back to it's original state and that seems to me to be a waste of time and money. Instead, I will dream of the greens I will one day use in my home... 

lovely green nook
via Emily Clark Design


Tumblr
via Tumblr

And we ought not rule out green as an accessory... whether it be in a rug, curtains, a piece of furniture or a decorative piece such as a lamp or vase....


office space via @Adore Home magazine  www.adoremagazine...
via Adore Home Magazine


Green Spool Chair in the Bedroom
via House Beautiful



Polka Dot, styling by Emma Clayton; Photography by Joanna Henderson
via Bright Bazar



Love the door color...bold!
via Tartanscott

I do love this leaf green front door!

So what do you think? Are you green with envy?

XOXO


Jessica



Rustic Charm :: Exposed Brick


exposed brick
via Canadian House and Home

I have a thing for exposed brick. It's not everyone's thing - it doesn't appeal to everyone, but then again, what does? I love its rustic appeal. It's not fussy, nor is it complicated. It's almost extraordinarily simple. I love the warmth that exposed brick brings. I love the textures and the colors...

When I see images of exposed brick I think of the old pre-war brownstones in Boston's Back Bay area, or the artsy lofts of downtown Manhattan. When I was looking for my new home last Spring I had a laundry list of what I wanted... a porch or large deck, fairly large back yard, eat-in-kitchen, large living room, and a fireplace. I never imagined to add exposed brick to that list. After all, in Connecticut, where I live, exposed brick is not a feature commonly found in our typical Colonial and Cape Cod Style homes. The house I'm living in was not my first choice. I was outbid on a lovely Colonial filled with character and charm that sat at the edge of a river. I hadn't had a plan B and I needed to find a backup, and fast. My Realtor urged me to take another look at a home I quickly popped my head into but dismissed as way too small. It had been a grey day and the house, in my opinion looked sad.

But I did as was suggested and we went back to what I now refer to as the Little White House. It was a gorgeous and sunny day. She needed a bit of cleaning up on the outside - gutters, a little power-washing, but the inside was illuminated by the sunlight that danced in through the large bay living room window. The antique white walls were clean and freshly painted. The wood floor shone beneath my feet. I decided to walk in and take another look. The two bedrooms off the living room hallway were small. The children would need to get used to them. The room to the end was indeed spacious and basking in sunlight. This would be the master bedroom ... I started mentally decorating her. We walked back out down the hallway, past the living room and into the kitchen. It was a large space, with wood cabinetry, a non-descript, older dishwasher, a generic looking white fridge and a white Jen-Air oven that happened to be the same model I'd grown accustomed to using. I walked further into the room, turned around and knew immediately that I had to have this kitchen. The exposed brick of the back of the fireplace gave the room a warm and rustic elegance. I've since moved in and my dark cherry dining room table and chairs fit my space perfectly. They're not what you expect to see when you walk into a kitchen as they are, in a simple sense, quite formal. Next to the fireplace I've got two bookshelves filled with cookbooks, and in the middle of it, above eye level, is a framed black and white photograph of my grandmother's villa in a small Italian countryside town.

I'm waiting for the addition of a pot-rack that I will hang over the stove with all my copper pots and pans and then my kitchen will be complete.

I'd love to build my own home one day. I've been sketching it out in my mind for quite some time now. I'd love to add an element of exposed brick, probably in the kitchen again.

table and chairs
via For the Love of a House

kitchen love
via Herlong Architects

perfect nook.
via Desire to Inspire

Love exposed brick!
Tumblr

exposed brick entryway
via Capella Kinchloe Interior Design

via Pinterest, original source not known

exposed brick
via Tumblr

Love the brick ceiling, the black slate floors, and the butchers block style island here.
via Interior Design Daily

Exposed brick kitchen.
via Petite Insanities

<3 exposed brick
via The Design Files


What are your thoughts on exposed brick? Love it or leave it?

XOXO


Jessica



Is your mudroom Pinterest-worthy or does it's name say it all?


simple, but beautiful color
via Pinterest, original source unknown

Suffice it to say I have mudroom envy. I have a fascination bordering on obsession with mudrooms and entryways. I'm not really sure why and I'm not really sure where this obsession originates from but it's there. In my adult life I've never had a particularly beautiful entryway or mudroom. Growing up in New York City I lived in an apartment on the 9th floor. My building was a beautiful pre-war building on 5th Avenue. I had to take the elevator up to my floor and I entered out onto a small private vestibule and then into a small foyer. Both were impeccable. The foyer had a dresser, a wicker sofa where I sat to put on boots or shoes and was all done in an elegant black and white wallpaper with a deep orange ceiling. The vestibule was also wallpapered, Elizabethan (or were they Victorian) characters dotted the landscape. It was simple and yet quite elegant and formal. I imagined these characters sitting in the opera or some grand, elegant theater and I was in the center on the stage. I would stand in the middle of the room and when no one was around, as I stood and waited for the elevator I would stand there and perform, belting out various Broadway tunes. I stopped as I heard the elevator approach.

My last home had a mudroom off of the garage and a laundry room off the mudroom. We had a very nondescript 2-story foyer with a table at the bottom of the stairs that greeted you as you entered that I tried to remember to fill with flowers or something festive if I remembered. We never entered through the foyer. Our mudroom was our point of entry. Muddy, sandy, dirty. Coats hung and fell from coat racks. Shoes and boots and sneakers and cleats were flung from little feet and landed across the room. Partially opened backpacks and soccer balls left behind occupied the floor and covered the slippery white tile that I loathed. There were boot trays for the shoes. There was a dresser for mittens, hats and scarves. Hooks for the coats. It should have been tidy and lovely. It wasn't. I had three kids under 12. Each one a whirling dervish. I picked up and tidied and zippered and hung. I vacuumed and mopped and I would have killed for a space that even remotely looked like something found on Pinterest or Houzz. But my messy kids would not make this possible even though, for the most part, the rest of the house remained nearly spotless.

I now have a coat rack in my kitchen. It hangs to the left of the door as we enter from the garage. I like the kids to take their shoes off in the garage but this doesn't always happen. The backpacks are now neatly lined up against the back door. It's an improvement but we're still no where near Pinterest-worthy. The front door, which we never use, opens onto our spacious living room. As you enter a narrow table filled with antique French decor magazines that featured my grandmother's home, a Ralph Lauren reading lamp (Home Goods score!) a large candle on a tortoise charger that was my grandmother's and an old horse shoe for good luck. Beneath the table 2 large wicker baskets sit filled with magazines. We're getting closer to Pinterest. We'll get there one day! Meantime I have lots to look at for inspiration!


Interior design by Jan Showers
via Jan Showers

dramatic entry
Stephen Gambrel

Janette Maclean Home // Design Mom
Jeannette Maclean Home

reclaimed wood mirror
design Emma Reddington, House and Home

entryway oversized mirror and parsons table
via Jillian Harris

wood entry doors, white plank walls
via Better Homes and Gardens

miles redd
Add caption

miles redd
Architectural Digest

love the green door and the brick floor~and the old dog too
via Inspiring Interiors

love the #wallpaper
Atlanta Homes Magazine

Darby Entryway Bench | Pottery Barn  with hooks mounted above
Pottery Barn

neat-o candle holders
Pawley's Island Posh

Entryway.
House and Home

towel bar, tall mirrors
ElleDecor

House Beautiful
House Beautiful

skirted console
V Interiors

For these and more inspiration please visit my Entryways and Mudrooms board on Pinterest!
But tell me, truthfully, how many of you really have Pinterest-worthy mudrooms and entryways?

XOXO

Jessica








Creating a Cozy Winter Oasis in my Home

It seems that just like that, the gorgeous weather switch from summer has been turned off. Our days have been cooler, breezier, and rainier. I had been hoping for a glorious weekend so that I could do some leaf peeping upstate, now I'm not so sure this will happen. Instead I will bring my winter clothes down from the attic and bring up the summer clothes that I've already packed up. My little house seems a bit stark - I need to make her winter-ready. I need to make her cozier. My hardwood floors are gorgeous but they'll be cold on our feet as soon as the temperatures drop. I'm shopping for rugs, blankets and fireplace screens at the moment. We're in need for a few more lamps as well. There are no ceiling fixtures in my small, 8 foot ceiling-ed house. In the summertime, when the sun was out until bedtime our space wasn't noticeably dark, but it is now. I love lamps. I will have fun collecting them. I have a small iron candelabra that I need to hang over the dining room table and I'm in the market for a pot holder that can be hung above the stove. My beautiful but in-dire-need-of-a-good-polishing copper pots will really add a feeling of warmth to the space, especially with the exposed brick of the fireplace in the background.

I'm going to concentrate on my bedroom first. I've put so much emphasis on the children and have put their needs ahead of mine. I need to focus on myself now. My bedroom is large and spacial and I'm wanting to turn it into something more than just a bedroom. It will be a space that's mine to sleep, relax and work. I need to be able to remove myself from the hub of activity where the children are. My office is in the living room, but it's not fair for me to banish the children to their rooms when I have to work. At the moment that's what we do, or I hide out in my bedroom and bring my laptop onto my bed. But this isn't really working.

Out on the screened-in porch an old loveseat sits looking out onto the now empty backyard. The children have gone to school or come inside at the end of the day. The loveseat needs to as well now. I will bring it into my bedroom for the Winter where I will set up a small reading and work space, away from the heart of the home. I'm hoping that I will be able to increase my productivity while the children are home with me. I've just purchased a white slipcover from Pottery Barn that was on sale. Now I'm in the market for a coffee table. I will salvage and refinish one from a yard sale or Goodwill. To complete my space I must have a cowhide or zebra rug. I simply must! And a faux fur throw to toss on the back of the sofa...
I'm really looking forward to creating my own space.


cannot get enough faux fur throws!
Pottery Barn

I'm loving these faux fur blankets which can be found in a myriad of price ranges from Donghia's upscale versions, to Pottery Barn's mid-range, to Home Good's handsome and very reasonably priced throws.

KOLDBY Cowhide IKEA The cowhide will retain its natural appearance and quality for a long time.
Ikea
I fell madly in love with a cowhide rug much like this at Brimfield last spring. I went home without it and am now kicking myself. They were reasonable and gorgeous! My budget is modest at best, but someone told me that Ikea carries some now too. I'm headed over to take a look!


dark and cozy

Doesn't the fur make this bed warm and inviting? Perfect for the winter! I have a feeling I will need a few of these all over the house. These faux fur blankets are incredibly comfortable. Think of them as Teddy bears for the grown-set!


wow... love all the textures!
Tiffany Eastman Interiors via Houzz

I'm at a loss as to where I'd place my rug, bedside or by the loveseat and coffee table...
Such a dilemma. I may need two of them!


white couches
Pinterest

I am so excited for my new slipcover to arrive. It will give new life to the old sofa and it will do so adding a simple, casual elegance. Slipcovers are fabulous for families with young children as they are easily removed and washed. There's just something about a white couch...


Some cute winter decorations!
Pinterest

I use my candles a lot in the cooler months. I love the warm glow they cast on a living space.
I quite like the display above that I believe was created
by adding a small strand of lights into the vase with the pine cones.


Easy & cheap Autumnal decoration
via Natasha in Oz

I always have bowls of apples and pears placed around the house in the fall. After all, how else do  you store the 40+ pounds that come home from apple picking?!


coffee and magazines - BEDROOM
Pinterest

Oh yes! I most indeed will be having my morning coffee, (and afternoon, and evening!) in my newly carved out space... I may never ever come out of my room again, especially if a bottle of wine was to find it's way over! Oh, and I do love all those candles stacked together in the fireplace. Lovely, just lovely!


vintage trunks as coffee tables.
via Architectural Digest
We have an old steam trunk as our living room coffee table. No, lot Louis! We had a glass top made for it so that the children wouldn't destroy it. I'm thinking of bringing that one into the bedroom, and getting something else for the living room - something lower and longer... 
Something that will not obstruct the view of the fireplace.


107743658_2n3E0PDL_c
via nuevo estilo
This is the layout I think I'm after, but I won't know until I have all the furniture in the room. If I place the couch at the foot of the bed and the coffee table directly in front of it, the seating will face the television. I may, instead, place the couch next to the foot of the bed facing out into the center of the room, directly in front of the the window. This may be the most efficient use of the space. Really it will all depend on where and how I place my cowhide rug!

My bedroom is dark woods and white. The bedding is white and the couch will be white. The furniture, both new and old is all dark wood. I love the contrast of the dark and the white, the new and the old. I have wonderful hard wood floors and the light, patterned rug will be a lovely complement.

I've never had my own space before. my bedroom has always been just a bedroom shared with a husband, and often by children. My desk has always been in the center of everything. I am really looking forward to my little oasis!

Do you have an oasis or a spot to call your own?

xoxo

Jessica

If your walls could talk, what would they say about you?

I like to fill my space. I do not like blank spaces. Perhaps because when I was taught how to paint on a canvass my art teacher was insistent that there be no white showing at all. We were to cover our canvasses completely. I feel the same about writing. I love my pages filled, scribbled, scratched, complete with the written word from top to bottom. I prefer to write in pen in lieu of on my laptop but I digress. My walls can't be bare either. My house feels naked - bare -exposed - raw - incomplete when there is too much white space on my walls. I like them covered with as much of my personal history as possible.

I like my walls, like my home, to tell a story. My walls, complete with photographs, artwork and pictures by the children reflect my style, my story... my personal history. My walls are not fully covered at the moment. It's a work in progress and I am working on it.

The same way a bookcase needs books, a bed needs pillows (the more the merrier) and a closet needs clothes, walls, in my opinion, need frames and artifacts. Lots and lots of them. The more the merrier, in my opinion. These help to add personality and warmth to a home. They personalize a space and make it your own.

As you'll see below there are many ways you can cover up the 'white' space on your walls. Whether you prefer to group or cluster pictures, line an entire wall, or cover a segment of a wall, there's a lot you can do determined on your taste and style. Maybe you want to stick to a monotone theme, or perhaps an antique theme. But there are those who like to combine the old and the new, modern and classic. There's no reason why children's artwork can't live on a wall peacefully with an expensive watercolor and family photographs. It's all in the presentation and how you group your pictures together. If you have a single, large piece of art, let it occupy the space and draw attention to itself. Personally, I adore the look of many framed pictures, together, leaning on shelves against a wall. Below I have chosen some wonderful examples of how you can warm up your walls as well.

...
Pinterest

Google Image Result for http://blog.arcadianlighting.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/7-Dorm-Fall-Finds.jpg
original source unknown

entryway
Pinterest


LOVE the picture wall!!



wonderful horizontal arrangement
Kevin Corn

beautiful
Tumblr

Amazing photo gallery in Steven Gambrel's barn makeover
Southern Living

blue and white- oscar connecticut
home of Oscar de la Renta

Polaroid / Instagram wall
Poppy Talk


White & Wander
source unknown


sophistication.
Tumblr

Love
Pinterest

world of interiors
Word of Interiors

vignette
Canadian House and Home

Simple and stunning
Tumblr

Gallery walls


bench + shelves + frames
Holly Mathis Interiors

Simply GORGEOUS!!! house beautiful october 2012 amanda lindroth bahamas
via Quintessence Blog

How To Hang Artwork - Art Display ideas - ELLE DECOR
elledecor.com 

nice job on wall art
Pinterest

If your walls could talk right now, what would they say about you?

XOXO,

Jessica

Back and white :: When not just one will do!

:) ahh

I can be indecisive. Sometimes I have a hard time making up my mind. Sometimes, well, OK - often, I want not one but both. Call me greedy. Call me gourmand. Tell me I can never seem to make up my mind or tell me that I want it all. The latter is probably the truest statement of me. I can make up my mind. It's easy as 1,2,3 or Eenie Meenie Miney Mo... But when you really want both... when you really have to have both the best thing to do is to come to some sort of compromise. This is a most genius of ideas and I am Queen of the Compromise. I like to be happy. I like to make others happy. And, I want it all! 

Especially when it comes to black and white. I am a rebel. I wear black in the summer and white in the winter. But sometimes I want a little bit of both. Sometimes I need a little bit of both. Some days my mood reflects a little bit of both. I wore black again yesterday. A pair of comfortable loose-fitting cargo pants, a thinly knit black T shirt and my pearls. Cargo pants and pearls. Why? I say why not! And, to confuse things a little more, as I was handbag shopping in my closet I opted for the white leather one. It was 80 degrees outside and I wore black. It's after Labor Day and I pulled the white leather bag from the upper shelf.  That's me... a great big juxtaposition... a great big paradox... But I know what I want and I know what I like. I know my style and I know what suits my style. Yesterday my style was a bit of casual playfulness with a bit of rebellion tossed in. Sometimes I am calm, cool and collective wanting to dress with quiet sophistication. Other times I am silly and whimsical never to dress overly seriously. I am classic and casual. I am modern and edgy. I am black and white. It is my absolute most favorite combination. I love it in home decor. I love it in my wardrobe. It's sexy, sublime, playful, witty, eye-catching... I am not just one thing; I am many things and the way I dress and decorate and live is a perfect reflection.

Even the foods I love are black and white!

black-white-cookies

But is black and white really a trend? We're seeing it all over the place these days... in the magazines and on the runways... I'm certainly not a trendy person. I don't follow or conform to them... and really, how can something so elegant and timeless and classic ever be considered a trend?


@Michael Kors #NYFW #SS13 via @Nina Garcia
Vogue.it

Michael Kors graces the runways in black and white....
as does Marc Jacobs....


Marc Jacobs - Spring Summer 2013 Ready-To-Wear - Shows - Vogue.it
Vogue.it


But um, hello! Pull up that skirt... or eat a few dozen yodels for crying out loud! OMGawd... I'm only just noticing... those shoes!


Marc Jacobs - Spring Summer 2013 Ready-To-Wear - Shows - Vogue.it
Vogue.it

I do love this Marc Jabobs coat, but can you imagine if I decided to grace the streets of New York like this? People would be shielding their eyes, telling me to cover up!


Classic


I do love this classic, timeless, crisp clean look that's synonymous with the Ralph Lauren brand. It is definitely me but clearly this ad pays no attention to those of us who are over 40 and have nursed many kids through infancy... but all advertising is is an illusion to make us think that we too could look like this... and in my own little world I do... I look just like this model with no fat on her whatsoever and teeny perky breasts... Why yes, yes I do!

stripes on stripes
Tumblr

Now this I could do... I would look just as darling (maybe even more so!) in this dress, most especially on this little yacht off of some remote island in Greece...


black and white
via The Neo Traditionalist

Timeless, elegant, playful, flirty... this just screams to me. I must have it! Yes, Yes, YES!!!


oscar de la renta
WWD

Oscar de la Renta is my hero. My idol. For he has created the world's most perfect dress. He doesn't know it but he's created it just for me! This would be a perfect wedding dress for me... You know, because I'm not supposed to wear all white (and if we all stuck to that rule there'd be no market at all for white wedding dresses, but I digress...) and I love this dress even more and I know it was made just for me because it is nice and form fitting on top (though I need just a couple sizes larger, maybe) and it flows in such a lovely and elegant way from the waist down which is perfect for us non-waifs who actually eat and this dress makes it so we don't have to suck in our guts and be uncomfortable all night long... nor do we have to wear our Spanx! Oscar, I love you! Marry Me? Or maybe send me over a size 4.... I'm short - just 5'4", so you'll need to come over and hem it for me, and since you'll be down on your knee while you're hemming... I do! I do!

My love of black and white comes out of the closet and into my home... 

black and white...love the ottoman and floors.
Belle Maison


💚Can we live here please?
New York Times Magazine

black. white. stripes. GORGEOUS!
Roomzar


coral, zebra, black & white, fun.
the lennoxx

fabulous walls!
Petrella Designs


love this
Pinterest, source unknown


black ceiling
La Casa de Mi Madre, Newport, RT


Look luxe
Pinterest


amazing
Tumblr

I hope this post made you laugh... I hope it made you smile... I hope it has you realizing that not everything is black and white, but maybe it should be!

Have a wonderfully happy Thursday!

XOXO

Jessica