For The Love Of New Orleans Architectural Styles

A mighty wind may blow, howl, scream and threaten destruction, but never underestimate the resolve of a city whose beauty and soul is rooted in its centuries-old history – a city seemingly built to entice and enchant the eye as well as the heart of those who admire and appreciate this architectural landmark called New Orleans.

New Orleans architectural styles fascinate me more and more with each and every visit to the Crescent City.  With a flair for finery reminiscent of the 18th century French and Spanish influence from which it came, New Orleans architectural elements are without a doubt some of the most notable, emulated and coveted features in architectural and interior design today.


Beginning with an iconic favorite, the iconic gas lamp is synonymous with New Orleans architectural style.  Authentically crafted in antiqued copper, the Bevolo French Quarter lamp is one the most recognizable architectural elements lighting the streets, sidewalks, storefronts and entryways throughout the French Quarter and Garden District.  Cementing its role as a prominent New Orleans architectural element, Bevolo Gas and Electric Lights began in the French Quarter in 1945.  The design vision and expert craftsmanship of Andrew Bevolo Sr. together with the tales of renowned architect A. Hays Town resulted in a brilliant design execution.  The French Quarter gas lamp is quintessential New Orleans and an architectural element that commands attention to detail.

Lantern_in_courtyard._May_1936._-_The_Cabildo,_711_Chartres_Street,_New_Orleans,_Orleans_Parish,_LA_HABS_LA,36-NEWOR,4-13.tifNew Orleans’ historic landmarks The Cabildo ~ May 1936


Columns, ornate wrought-iron laced designs and historic balconies rule the New Orleans architectural elements royal court.  These sublime features wrap the city in intricate detail so historically ingrained and so hauntingly associated with the French and Spanish style architectural history of New Orleans.

“New Orleans makes it possible to go to Europe without ever leaving the United States.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

808px-LePretre_Mansion_Orleans_St_Pharmacy_1958Gardette-LaPrete House (The Sultan’s Palace)

columnEmerald Coast Gallery

768px-JosephineStRevivalhouse30Nov07GateDoor1Early 19th Century Greek Revival

Thoughts of what once was and what could be again dance the dance of possibility in the minds of restorers, the hands of architects, the boards of designers and the hearts of the New Orleans devoted.  Purveyors of architectural grandeur understand and infinitely appreciate the fine point of architectural perfection in an imperfect state.

columns-garden-districtCorinthian Columns

Age is a visitor from time that comes to the New Orleans architectural styles party often as an uninvited guest, but one embraced for its weathered and worn wonder with awed appreciation nonetheless.

verdigrisHouse Beautiful

Victorian-turretVictorian Turret

Exposed brick walls epitomize traditional 19th century New Orleans architecture.  If these walls could talk, what stories they could tell!

exposed-brick-wall-New-OrleansNew Orleans Local

The word on the streets of New Orleans is revered as an art form.  Dating back over 100 years, encaustic tiles were used throughout the city of New Orleans to identify street names.


Numerous buildings and streets of The French Quarter display the painted and embossed encaustic tiles as a historic form of identification of the old Spanish colonial street names.


Opulent crystal chandeliers are synonymous with the finery that is New Orleans’ antiquities.  Ornate moldings, ceiling medallions, elliptical archways and decorative trimmings denote the architectural element hallmarks of the city’s Greek Revival homes.

new-orleans-house-proud-interiorsPhotos by Sara Essex Bradley 
From House Proud: Unique Home Design/Louisiana by Valorie Hart

Dating back to the 1850s, the ornamental wrought and cast iron balconies, fences, galleries and gates of the Vieux Carré stand tall as the prominent architectural element most associated with the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans.


 Pairing these two design elements together is a bespoke design element demonstrated throughout the Crescent City.


Elaborate in design and characteristic of the French Quarter, ornamental ironwork frames a large portion of the landmarks and homes of New Orleans.

feather-bracketsfeather brackets

The New Orleans Shotgun house possesses an exterior charm as unique as the feather, scroll and gingerbread architectural elements for which they are known.  A shotgun house is elongated in length and narrow in width with rooms flowing one into another.  Modeled in Eastlake, Neoclassical Revival and Italianate styles, the shotgun houses throughout the City of New Orleans were built with lot size constraints in mind.  Form follows function applies here.

shotgun-house-New-OrleansNew Orleans Real Estate, Today and Yesterday

Distinctive color combinations and Victorian gingerbread or lacy brackets characterize the front façade of the New Orleans’ shotgun house.


Shuttered doors and windows continue to be a prominent fixture among the classic New Orleans architectural element scene.  Adopting and adapting exteriors to mirror the customary French architectural design element of louvered shutters on all windows caught on and remains one of the most instantly recognizable traits of New Orleans design.  Shuttered doors and windows were strictly a utilitarian feature with a three fold purpose early on- privacy, protection from wind and sun and to control ventilation.  The climate of New Orleans is not one that is conducive to complete comfort in the spring and summer months.  Shuttered doors and windows remain a characteristic feature of French Quarter buildings, restaurants and hotels today.  I have opened many a window and French door and pulled many a pair of shutters my way over the years to block the noise from the streets of the French Quarter.

1344483687_3141cc90bc_oBosque House Courtyard

An architectural enigma of sorts in a city so well know for public displays, the New Orleans’ courtyard is viewed as an architectural feat of patio splendor.  The New Orleans courtyard is an intimate walled garden usually tucked away from street view- a hidden and shaded Shangri-La.  Flowing fountains, lush plants and fragrant tropicals line the walls of the courtyard providing a tranquil place for residents, tourists and locals alike to ensconced themselves in privacy.  This is my idea of The Big Easy.

1345410562_62deda1dac_bAngel In Fountain – Le Petit Theatre

New Orleans’ native-born son, the incomparable Louis Armstrong, croons the question “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?”  The influence of the New Orleans architectural element in today’s interiors and exteriors is undeniable.   Gorgeous copper, antique New Orleans bricks, ornamental iron, ceiling medallions, ornate chandeliers and shutters drive my interior design and decorating choices.  I guess I do know what it means to love the architectural styles of New Orleans.



Filed under Antiques, Architectural, Historical Landmarks, home decor, Interior Decorating, Interior Designers, Louisiana

Are You Ready For Some Tailgating Ideas and Recipes?

Happy days and tailgating times are here again!  The return of high school, college and NFL football is reason enough to shout “now I am just so happy.” Downton Abbey and American football know a thing or two about Masterpiece seasons and true fan followings.  A good show with an exciting plot and the chance of a surprise ending captivates viewers and keeps them wanting more. This exact rationale hooks the football loyal and keeps the home team crowd wanting for more season to season.  The football nation is gearing up for another season of Friday night lights, scoreboard Saturdays and NFL Sundays.


Welcome to another season of football and the tailgating reasons we love it so.  I reference the pride of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and our forever favorites, the LSU Tigers, in this post because it is the home state favorite.  I invite you to use the name of your favorite team(s) where applicable.


Cue the band for we are calling Baton Rouge! We’ve got the eye of the Tiger and the need for some pre-game tailgating.  Gathering with several thousand of your closest football fan friends to roast, toast, grill and gab before the game has become an event almost as exciting as the game itself.  Time-honored traditions are serious pre-game business, and the sight of LSU fans lining the streets in a sea of purple and gold to view, cheer and get the pre-game party roaring as The Golden Band from Tigerland marches down Victory Hill to Tiger Stadium feeds the soul and ups the Tiger tempo.


You didn’t hear this from me, but Dave the Builder has been known to partake in a little opposing team trash talk all in the name of good-natured football fan fun.


From a casual gathering round the grill to a pull out all the stops pre-game soiree, tailgating is a right of passage for students, alumni and devoted fans. Planning these ultimate fan meet and greets is part of the game day experience, a social event that counts as the prime occasion for decoristas to seize the design and decorating opportunity to show’em what cha got!  And you thought the only competition on game day was on the field.  Inspiration is everywhere, and I am certainly impressed and inspired by some of the tablescapes I see on any given home game day. These people bring their tablescape A-game, and the result is an absolute tailgating tablescape work of art.  My tailgating tablescape ideas and recipes have long been planned, and the grill is cleaned and ready to be fired up like a capacity crowd in Death Valley on a Saturday night.

LSU-stadiumElectrifying!  1130 The Tiger

It’s just not tailgating until the Geaux Tigers playlist is turned to roar!

You can’t go wrong with a tailgating tablescape decked out in team colors. Fabric remnants make great table runners, napkins and tablecloths. Selecting neutral colors for foundation pieces puts a tablescape color scheme under no go team colors obligation.  Football weather means fall, and decorating with pine cones, pumpkins, vines, branches, gourds and flowers indigenous to your conference zone makes things seasonally festive.

tailgating-centerpieceThe Grove at Ole Miss – Au Courant Floral Creation

How’s this for a fall tailgating centerpiece arrangement!


Floral rings wrapped in burlap or grosgrain ribbon, floral moss (giving a nod to the bayou) or team inspired duct tape make great custom candle rings. Bargain bins, dollar stores and end of season clearance sales can be tailgating tabletop treasure troves.  Give me a L!  Give me a S!  Give me a U!  What’s that spell? Festive centerpiece accent! Seasonal flowers, natural or spray painted branches and wreaths, magnolia leaves or seasonal stems make for affordable and impressive centerpieces. Give the attic or the old storage closet a once over for football themed oldies but goodies to put to decorating use.  This DIY wreath is an inexpensive idea for a game day decoration.

football-wreathTurnstyle Vogue

Paper lanterns and string lights bring lighted lagniappe to your tailgating space. Remember, easy is the first rule of tailgating transport and clean up. I love items with multi uses, and the 5 gallon team bucket from Home Depot qualifies as a tailgating must have.  This go team go handy dandy tailgating find makes the perfect tabletop and food wares tote, beverage tub, centerpiece container or trash receptacle.

Food, Glorious Tailgating Food!

This is how we tiger fan and fare at our Bayou Broil, Bake and Baste!

Photo Editor - Paden Reich, Art Director- Bob Perino, Prop Stylist- Buffy Hargett Miller, Food Stylist- Erin Merhar, Food Stylist Assistant Callie Aldridge.Slow Cooker Ribs

Crawfish-DipCrawfish Dip With Fried Bow Tie Pasta

andouille-hush-puppiesAndouille Hush Puppies

Kentucky-butter-cakeThe Kentucky Butter Cake I baked from this recipe is a crowd favorite!  

Who says a tailgate celebration can only be held at the stadium?  Tailgating knows no boundaries- it is a kick on the home sweet home field too!  The coffee table conference is game day buffet central enjoyed by many.  When you can’t be at the game live and in person you can still be in the game with an at home tailgating spread.  No lines, no crowds, no parking issues, no problem. Tailgating at home does have its advantages.


I hope these tailgating ideas and recipes come in handy for your tailgating good times.  Happy tailgating, may your team be the pride of their division, and Go Team Go aka Geaux Tigers!



Filed under Food, football, Louisiana, Recipes, tablescapes, tailgating


I am stepping back from the keyboard for a few vacation days in order to recharge my battery.  You get the idea.




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Dorm Days Are Here Again: Dorm Room Decorating Ideas

Dorm Days are coming around again.  Retailers have started promoting back-to-school sales with an emphasis on dorm room style and the decorative accents and accessories tools needed to ace the personal style test.  Decoristas and fashion forward co-eds are on a mission to fabulously furnish their new dorm room digs in high home away from home style.  For many in the back to campus crowd, the time honored tradition of dorm room decorating is an exercise in personal style expression.


Here’s a  Back-to-School checklist to get the back to campus dorm room decorating ideas party started.

Click on image to enlarge

Pops of color and pattern make the grade A+ fabulous for dorm room decorating ideas.


Back in the day…


The shag rug has reinvented itself as a dorm desirable decorating option. Today’s new and improved shag makes it a very popular choice of area rug for all the right reasons.  The look is sophisticated, the pile is plush and the price point points toward affordable.  One can do an enormous amount of walking in a college campus day.  Why not put something totally plush, comfortable and stylish underneath your tired ten toe mode of transportation.  The look and the feel of shag is right up there with the best of the comforts of home best.

nuLOOM-Handmade-Plush-Shag-Rug-2ee8c295-9aef-4bb2-98ec-00806ef43d97_600nuLOOM Handmade Plush Shag Rug

A desk is a study, work and personal space essential, and one with at least one drawer for storage in the name of organization makes the back to campus list. Speaking of organization with a positive vibe and flow, check out this tutorial on how to feng shui your desk.

josephine-deskJosephine Desk

Great lighting is a requirement for this area.  Clip, task, table and funky fun- shine a little light on the higher education study and down time situation.


Deal of the day on the acrylic stick lamp– on clearance for $3.50 each!  ||  Shades 1, 2, 3   ||  Aurora Table Lamp  ||  White Desk Lamp ||  Lace Table Lamp  ||  Paper Accordion Lamps

get on it clipUrban Outfitters

Now comes the fun part, the accessories!


Ziggy Zebra ||  XOXO Statue ||  Black Leather Shag Rug ||  Gold Dots Desk Organizer  ||  Watermelon Splash Tumbler ||  Gratitude Journal  ||  We ♥ Paris Notebook  ||  Heart Marquee Light  || Hello Gorgeous Mirror  ||  French Bulldog Tape Dispenser  ||  Gold Tufted Cube Ottoman  ||   Be Amazing Pillow


I hope one or more of these dorm room decorating ideas offers design, color and/or decorative inspiration for your back-to-campus dorm room design and decor.



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Finds and Treasures Currently Catching My Eye

Finds and treasures currently catching my eye for the August gotta have it list include all things house that make a home goodies in appetizing, modern, polished and pumpkin time is right around the corner style.  First up in this month’s round up is a set of appetizer plates with a sense of style and a sense of humor.


ED by Ellen

Memories lay the ground work for a collectible fascination to take root.  My frog fascination began in the summer of 1974 when I landed the coveted lead role in the local community theater production of Fairy Frog Superstar.  The play was pure G-rated fun, a take off on Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother.  The frog thing stuck, and I’ve been an avid collector of frog themed objects ever since. Metals are trending with a vengeance for fall 2015, and this brass finished frog object from West Elm is one handsome hopper.


The mixing of traditional, vintage and/or antiques with modern pieces remains on trend and in style.  Contrast is good, visual impact the desired decorating effect, and creating a unique and impressive focal point is the point.  I am inspired by the INSPIRE Q Canali Sleek Modern Accent Chair.


Crabtree & Evelyn Rosewater Hand Therapy smells as good as it feels and heals. Perfect treatment for project weary hands.


Thank You in any language translates well.   Modeled after antique enameled European signage, this Merci Word Play porcelain wall art says thank you in ooh la la fashion.


Howard Feed-N-Wax is the Tina Turner of wood polishes.  Simply the best.


Who’s looking forward to getting their fall baking, cooking and seasoning on? The Staub Ceramic Pumpkin Cocotte from Williams-Sonoma is making it very hard for me not to be in a fall-pumpkin-cinnamon state of mind.


Speaking of seasonal recipes, may I suggest Louisiana De Mer: Seasonal Seafood Recipes for your cookbook collection.  This definitive collections of recipes for seafood lovers features 160 pages of beautiful photography, recipes from celebrated Louisiana chefs and restaurants, New Orleans classics- including po-boys and dozens of Cajun and Creole cooking tips.


Now we’re cooking!


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Filed under accents, Accessories, baking, cooking, home decor, Louisiana

Inspired Ideas Floating Around

Is it that time of year already to be in new season, new ideas blog mode?  I think there’s still plenty of the present season to home decor show and tell about, but the window of summer is beginning to close. We will say so long to outdoor living, patio parties and summer soiree home decor finds that will disappear from our favorite store sites and shelves.  On the bright side however, one of my favorite words, clearance, is heading to a home decor department near you in the very near discount future.  I’m beginning to hear the rumblings of fall is right around the corner retail chatter.  With all the inspired ideas floating around for the upcoming blog season, I find I’m not quite ready to throw in the summer beach towel just yet. The summer of 2015 has been a stylish one, and has turned out to be an interior decorating and home decor success in terms of trends and retail offerings.


In the upcoming months we will color our world in fall colors.  Color knows all seasons, and is never far from the center of my decorating thoughts.


We will see, source and discuss pattern and texture.

palmeral_blue_shade_and_pineapple_lamp-_72dpi-1024x1024House of Hackney

Always a delicious source of conversation, fall is a grand time to season the season with fantastic comfort food features.

Grilled-Watermelon-Feta-Stacked-Salad-5Cooking for Keeps

Same goes for cooking tips and c’est si bon recipes!

Le-CreusetClassic Le Creuset

I look forward to sharing with you all the best of the season in home decor finds, antiques treasures and travel tales.


Home accents, decor and furnishings markets are gearing up to reveal what’s new for the upcoming fall season in decorating trends and home decor.  Interior decorating, tailgating times, holiday happenings, fall colors on parade decor accents and accessories suggestions and inspired ideas to dish and decorate around will follow, and I for one can’t wait!  The summer blogging pace is slowing down for a few weeks in anticipation of a full-on fall preview. I am looking forward to things to come, and hope you will tune in for the Places In The Home fall 2015 design and decorating show and tell.  I promise it will not disappoint.


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Filed under home decor, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, seasonal decor, seasonal decorating

Air Conditioning: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Since the dawn of home owning and renting time, American houses have come to know the weekend project(s).  Regardless of the style of house or year of construction, at some point something will be in need of repair, replacement, renovation or remodel.  That time came once again last week here at Places In The Home.  The original air conditioning system in our fifty year old ranch style house finally bit the dust last week.  It had a good life and provided hours of cold in the summer and warm in the winter air.  Dave the Builder lined up the new system and the crew to work on Saturday, I stocked up on bottled water, sports drinks and cooling towels, and we were off to the races.

P-AmericanHouses_FPOPop Chart Lab  ~  Click on image to enlarge

Sometimes you have to go through the ugly to get to the beauty of the sweet, sweet cold air on the other end of the air conditioning project.


If I had a nickel for every “we did just fine without air conditioning back in the good old days” comment my mother made during the central air install project this past weekend, I would be paying cash in all nickels for a new Nest thermostat.  The subject of the good old days was immediately dropped as the first blast of cold air circulated around the room.  My mother was the Road Runner to Dave the Builder’s Wile E. Coyote getting to the nearest vent blowing cold air, a feature of little to no presence in the main living and kitchen area of Places In The Home for the biggest part of last week.  You could hear the call to turn the thermostat to arctic and let the cooling down begin a mile away!  I don’t believe I am in the minority here when I say there is nothing good about any day past, present or future when it comes to being hot.  My thoughts and prayers honestly do go out to the men and women who work outdoors in oppressive temperatures and heat indexes best described as dangerous.  Dave the Builder hits the door some evenings after a 12+ hour workday in the Louisiana summer sun and humidity drained of all energy and will.  Air conditioning plays a huge role in our lives, both at work and at home.


“We’ll make that into a sitting room where we can sit and talk… and the breeze can get at us.”

That line from the movie Giant makes me wonder how people lived without air conditioning?   Dust storms, tumbleweeds and brutal heat set the story of life on a Texas ranch in the 1920s.  I would need a don’t talk to me I’m dying from this heat sitting room.  Whenever I watch Giant and other classic films and television shows that show life and homes without air conditioning,  I thank the conditioned air gods for Willis Carrier, the inventor of the first modern air-conditioning system.  Bless the heart of this brilliant, brilliant man!  Before Mr. Carrier’s invention however, the masses depended upon commercial and residential design features of the times to promote airflow and cross ventilation.

Large porches

Screened sleeping porches, winding wraparound porches and deep eaves and awnings accommodated shade seekers, porch sitters and night sleepers from the harsh direct sunlight and heat of the day and gave protection from mosquitoes at night.  Porch sitting and sippin’ in the late afternoon and after dinner (supper) was as much about letting the breeze get at you as it was an exercise in proper digestion.



A transom window proved crucial to upper air flow.  Found above doors, a transom moved the warm air hovering at ceiling level to the higher floors or large open windows.  Opening windows and doors at opposite ends of center halls allowed air to flow between areas of the house.

transom-window-above-doorBetter Homes and Gardens

My brother removed all the working transoms and hardware from above the doors throughout his house during the initial renovation and restoration of his 1903 Victorian home.  The transoms in his first house, a Victorian one story built in 1910, never worked properly and the hardware proved difficult at best to operate.  The point of this explanation and pictorial example is to illustrate the architectural measures taken in the construction of homes and the thought to comfort given to air flow routes in the days devoid of air conditioning.


The long hot summer of 2015 has quite a few days and nights yet to go before relief is in sight.  Thanks to Willis Carrier, Dave the Builder’s HVAC skills and the local power company Places In The Home won’t be without air conditioning. Remind me of this post if I dare complain about the cold of winter.


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Filed under architecture, Design, home maintenance, project

Rental Refresh Upgrades: The Comforts of Home

Continuing the rental refresh upgrades conversation:

Pulling back the reins on major decorative and design improvements to a rental is a financially sound practice if you are not renting to own, making improvements to the property in return for rent credit or taking up residency for the long haul.  Dave the Builder and I completely overhauled, remodeled, refreshed and spiffed up our first home, a darling mid-century cottage lease purchase property.  I loved the bones of the house, but the decor stood still somewhere in the 1950s.  In the beginning we remodeled and refreshed for the comforts of home sake with caution, choosing to update through lighting and color.  I cannot beat the color drum enough- it really is the most bang for your buck way to infuse style into a home.

kitchen_melissa-leeLove, love, love!  Design Sponge


In the case of our son’s rental home, the kitchen is small but workable in regards to design, function and affordable possibilities.  Presently, the walls are painted red and the cabinets are white laminate with oak trim 1980s #throwbacks.  You know the ones!  Dave the Builder and I scrimped, saved and sacrificed to remodel the kitchen in our first house.  We thought this style of kitchen cabinet was the bee’s knees, and according to the kitchen design magazines and showrooms a whole lot of other people did too!


Millennials love retro, and although everything old eventually becomes a new trend again, the dated oak trim will be modified with paint and new cabinet pulls added.   Since replacing the cabinets is cost prohibitive laminate it is!  As I explained to our son the pros of laminate cabinet fronts and countertops, he came around to the practicality of keeping the original cabinets in play. Laminate is a very forgiving surface to work with. The upkeep is minimal, and that works in any kitchen.  No need to throw the baby out with the bath water.

The Comforts of Home

Strategic pops of color and an accessories mix of warm metals with a modern spin will complement the neutral paint palette and introduce that new kitchen look.


Please excuse the poor quality of these images. The combination of bad lighting and a cell phone camera gets you a color distorted photo.  The master bedroom walls are painted with Benjamin Moore’s Museum Piece.  The color in the above image is no where near the true color that is Museum Piece, so to my sources I go for an image that does capture the true color.

BM-museum-piece-framedBenjamin Moore

Great color choice!

BM-muesum-piece-wallsBenjamin Moore PSP-Museum Piece ~ Renae Keller Interior Design, Inc.

Master bedroom furnishings and accessories with a hint of Louisiana coastal chic will literally offer the comforts of home.


Final suggestions for decor accessories and furnishings lean toward DIY chic projects, hacks and thrifted treasures.  His girlfriend scored a great coffee table and reinterpreted the style with paint and embellishments.  Our style council agreed a chic credenza with a Mad Men mid-century interpretation will mix things up like a dry martini.

“By acquiring all of your furniture from different eras and places and things that are expensive and inexpensive, it will make your end product have a great spirit.”

Kelly Wearstler

The treasure hunt is on for one in all Don Draper glory.  A fantastic period piece in great condition that comes with the extra added bonus of a quality finish, impressive lines, scale and focal point presence to die for is out there, and a can of Johnson paste wax and a soft cloth will put the period at the end of the very stylish and on-trend sentence.


I will end this post with an observation from my earlier Rental Refresh Upgrades post.  Does it makes sense and cent$ to make updates and improvements to a rental property?  Absolutely!  Focus less on the fact your new residence is a rental and more on the fact that your new residence is where you call home.  All things house that make a home come together to make the out of your own pocket rental refresh upgrades worth it in the name of the comforts of home, convenience and personal style.


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Filed under Accessories, home decor, Home Furnishings, Interior Decorating, kitchen accessories, paint colors

All Propped Up And Sitting Pretty: Upholstered Ottomans, Footstools and Benches

Upholstered ottomans, footstools and benches are not merely an all propped up and sitting pretty home furnishings accent piece anymore.

Chinoiserie-upholstered-ottomanNew England Home

Now for a few words of ottoman wisdom from Jerry Seinfeld:


“I did this thing on the Ottoman Empire. Like, what was this? A whole empire based on putting your feet up?”


Style and taste answered the call from function, comfort and storage with a big hello, decoristas.  I’m listening!  There has been a palpable shift towards a broader use of upholstered ottomans, footstools and benches over the last few seasons and trends.  Thank goodness the furniture designers and home furnishings world is answering the call with gorgeous offerings in a wide range of style, shape and fabric selections.  Non-traditional placement accompanies this look with a blended balance starring pattern, color, form and the crucial decorative eye candy, the mixing of styles. 


A gorgeous first impression in your entry or foyer whets the appetite for the interior design and decorating curious.  Never discount the power of the small space nor the big statement these areas of the home are capable of making.  An entry or foyer is such a space, and often the initial preview of the decorating style of the home.  The entry or foyer interior design and decorating layout is prime real estate for an upholstered ottoman(s), footstool or bench to call home.  A statement piece should be considered a decorative investment, a front and center accent designed to enhance the look you want to convey and placed to visually impress.


Upholstered ottomans, footstools and benches crafted in wood and leather in shapes of round, square or rectangular, upholstered in designer fabric, chic upholstery patterns and textures or vintage textiles and tufted, embellished or trimmed to bespoke specifications define unique utility.


A cocktail ottoman well-placed in front of sofas, settees or stylish accent chairs can easily transition into the ultimate entertainment center.  Coffee table, guest seating, cocktail station, game table, textile storage- an ottoman offers versatility and functionality with a sense of style and multipurpose. 


upholstered ottomans, footstools, and benchesvia

Upholstered cocktail ottomans pull decorating double duty as both stylish accent piece and functional home furnishing.

upholstered-cocktail-ottomanWalter E. Smithe

upholstered-round-ottomanBetter Homes and Gardens

upholstered ottomanvia

I am a big fan of placing a matched pair of upholstered X-bench ottomans side by side, stepping back and letting the accomplished look produced and spot-on placement precision impress.  That is the visually rewarding moment in decorating we strive to reach.


Antique Russian benches upholstered in luxurious Fortuny fabric  become the focal point extraordinaire in polished pairing perfection by capturing the eye and complementing the accent palette through pattern and proportion.


In the world of decorating, two can be better than one.


The bigger and bolder the statement the better.


lucite-ottomanTaylor King

dressing-rooms1, 2, 3, 4

Lovely, indeed, in European artisan splendor and simple elegance.


Dave the Builder, DIY guy extraordinaire, walked in one afternoon and placed before me a salvaged antique burl walnut sewing cabinet with one drawer, porcelain castors, and no top.  My words said thank you, Dave, but my mind thought what in the world am I to do with this?  Dave proceeded to fill me in on his vision for this piece.  The “eyedea” was to have our upholsterer build a padded form to secure to the top to create a custom upholstered footstool.  The unforgiving lighting and cell phone image do not do the finished footstool justice, but trust me, the piece was a work of accent art.  It sold within a week of being introduced into inventory.  I regret not keeping it, but am currently on the hunt for another you say trash and I say treasure piece to repurpose into a footstool.


The thinking outside the design box treasures, the noteworthy accent pieces that accentuate our home decor choices and capture the essence of personal style with a “that’s it!” exclamation mark is what distinctive decorating is all about. Unique upholstered ottomans, footstools and benches definitely fall into that category.







*** this is a refreshed post ***

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For Rent: Rental Refresh Upgrades

Today’s blog post is brought to you by the letter R for rental refresh upgrades. The conversation of late between mama and papa Places In The Home and our soon to be college graduate son heading up to the Great White North to begin his career has revolved around rental property viewings, interiors, exteriors, accents (eh?) and scads of all things house that make a home (rented or owned) furnishings.  This is the time of year when thoughts of apartments, condos, townhomes and single-family houses for rent and rental refresh upgrades begin to take center stage in the minds of college bound students, career starting college grads and newlywed couples.  According to recent real estate and business reports, millennials trend more toward renting than buying.


The genius of internet listings, video viewings, real estate apps and Skype proves an essential tool in locating a property.  With a few clicks, well placed phone calls and virtual tours, our son has successfully rented a two story Victorian-era style home.  Now comes the fun part- the rental refresh upgrades.  He and his girlfriend are currently in putting a stylish spin on his new abode mode.  This is not our son’s first time at the rental rodeo.  He knows all too well renting comes with caveats, and property management firms have rules and code restrictions that must be adhered to.  Addressing the aforementioned right off the bat clearly defines the can and cannots.  Fortunately, the home owner is on board with the updates and rental refresh upgrades our son wants to do to the property.

BM-revere-pewter-framedBenjamin Moore

Fresh paint  rules the rental refresh upgrade playbook.   I ran across this quote yesterday and it really hit home.

“Color is the least expensive thing to put in a house.” —Ruthie Sommers

Color often gives the biggest return on your interior decorating investment. Paint is an instant update and covers a multitude of previous tenant color choice sins and the scuffs, streaks and uh-ohs made when moving out.  As a housewarming gift, Mr. Girlfriend’s Dad is painting the entire interior and key exterior areas of the house.  Going with a neutral color palette allows more breathing room in regards to accents and furnishings.  Landlords and property managers love neutral palettes, and come closer to approving the request for painting with this color choice.


My inbox is experiencing a high volume of before, during and after pictures.  It’s exciting to be in the loop, share in the progress and to be asked to be a part of the process .


Does it makes sense and cent$ to make updates and improvements to a rental property?  Absolutely!  Focus less on the fact your new residence is a rental and more on the fact that your new residence is where you call home.  All things house that make a home come together to make the out of your own pocket rental refresh upgrades worth it for the sake of your comfort, convenience and personal style touch.

Rental Refresh Upgrades

So worth it rental refresh upgrades good to go as in take it with you when you go ideas range from a programmable thermostat, stylish mirrors in bathrooms, accent rugs, light switch and wall plates, cabinet knobs and pulls, new shower head(s) and focal point light fixtures to exterior walkway lighting, planter boxes and a decorative mailbox.  Renting or buying, it really is amazing how a sense of personal style, displaying objects of individual interest and decorating with accents that capture and convey your personality makes a house a home.

studded-rug-FlooringHall’s Flooring

I’ll leave it there for today’s post and pick it back up with more pictures and suggestions for rental refresh upgrades.

Love your style!

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Filed under accents, Home, home improvement, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, Paint, paint colors