House of Cards Inspired: A Haven Within A Haven

A phone call from my son earrrrrly Friday morning led off with the question asked round the streaming world, “Do you remember what streams today?”  For the Netflix loyal, May 30th is the highly anticipated day House of Cards season 5 hits Netflix.  I haven’t decided if I will be staying in for a weekend marathon or settling in on a weeknight for some must stream TV, but a House of Cards haven within a haven is in the cards.

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The opening credits featuring Washington, D.C. landmarks and the House of Cards main title theme music by Jeff Beal hits a haunting note that lingers in your mind and thoughts.  Captivating, to say the least.

House of Cards Main Title Sequence from Drew Geraci (District 7 Media) on Vimeo

Popcorn makes a delicious case for the ultimate binge watching snack.  I will be popping up a batch of Rosemary and Sea Salt popcorn for streaming sustenance.

rosemary-and-sea-salt-popcorn

Rosemary and Sea Salt Popcorn

Ingredients

½  cup popcorn kernels
¼  cup canola oil or grapeseed oil (or other high flashpoint oil)
1  tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon fresh minced rosemary
3  tablespoons unsalted butter
½  teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions

Heat the oil large pot over medium heat. After the oil is hot, add the popcorn kernels and the 1-tablespoon of rosemary, and then shake the pot to gently toss the kernels until they are all coated with oil. Cover with a splatter screen or a lid that is placed slightly ajar to allow the steam to escape.  Cook until the popcorn popping frequency slows to several seconds between pops. Remove from heat, allow a minute or two for any final pops, and then pour into a large bowl.  In a small saucepan combine the butter and remaining ½ teaspoon of rosemary.  Melt the butter over medium heat.  Drizzle over the popcorn and season with salt and pepper, tossing occasionally as you butter, salt, and pepper the popcorn.

~Food & Wine

No streaming spoilers here, but as it plays out in the House of Cards game, Frank Underwood & Co. prove the more things change the more they stay the same.  Never in a million years did I believe I would be enthralled by a fictional series.  Let’s face it- House of Cards mirrors the nonfictional turbulent political times we currently find ourselves living in.

See what I mean?

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Cunning characters with a penchant for political advancement veiled in brilliant plot twists play to the camera and today’s political climate with art imitating life inside the Beltway mastery.  Art imitates life, and makes an excellent storyline.  I’m the type of viewer who doesn’t immediately realize how much of an impression fictional and nonfictional scenes and characters are making on me.  It’s the same with inspiring and impressive interior design and decorating.  There are spaces that grab the eye at first glance and others with a wash over you presence that slowly and surely draw you in.

Claire-Underwood

The brilliant writing, captivating storylines and foreboding theme song make me sit up and pay attention, but it’s the sleek set designs of House of Cards that impress.  Somewhere between an obligatory nod to traditional Washington, D.C. townhouse decor style and an overly emphasized attempt to marry modern to minimalist is a space found in many a home sweet home- a haven within a haven.

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For those of you who are familiar with the show I don’t need to explain. For those of you who are not familiar with the show, a quick synopsis to put you in the loop…

The married Washington, D.C. insider powerhouse couple, Francis and Claire Underwood, come together at the smoking window (as I referred to it all weekend long). Cutting deals and stabbing backs on a daily basis is not for the faint at heart. When the proverbial house of cards begins to fall, and the weight of the Washington, D.C. world becomes heavier than usual, the cooler heads and blacker hearts of Mr. and Mrs. Underwood divide and conquer the day over a shared cigarette.  Harm to the body is trumped in favor of this downtime ritual set with Frank and Claire seated atop a radiator and a shutter framed window or in the kitchen of the White House Residence.  An otherwise forgettable and basically unimpressive space suddenly becomes a design focal point.

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The forged alcove serves as a small space of shelter and refuge from circadian shenanigans- an in house haven to vent away the foul of the day.  I am in no means advocating smoking, but I do suggest if you do not already have a haven within a haven space you may want to entertain the thought of getting one.  I am an advocate for recharging one’s battery.

Grandin-Road- Rebecca-Swivel-ChairGrandin Road

A couple of years ago I won a Rebecca Swivel Chair after entering the Beautiful Black and White Pinterest Sweepstakes from House Beautiful.  This is my “in my own little corner, in my own little chair” chair.  It resides in a haven within a haven part of the house where downtime meets me time and helps me lose track of real time for a short period of time.

haven within a haven

A phone call laaaaate Friday night led off with the question asked round the streaming world, “Have you watched it yet?”   To quote Frank Underwood, “I’m only getting started.”  Dave the Builder’s man cave will pull double-duty as both screening room and a haven within a haven over the next few evenings.  Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like a haven within a haven to stream and decompress.

Love your style!

 

The Gotta Have It List Summer 2015 Edition

Making things pretty on a penny is always a subject of interest to me, clients, friends, family and judging from the emails I receive, most of my readers.

the-gotta-have-it-list-summer-2015-edition

The summer retail season is heating up, and the stores, outlets and online sights we love to call favorites are rolling out seasonal finds much to the delight of decorators, designers and gotta have it guys and gals.  Seasonal decorating is nothing new, but the items in which to accomplish this mission of home decor beautification are.  Summer style spotting with pen, paper and bookmark icon ready to jot and save is proving to be successful on the summer finds front.   Here is the first round of the Gotta Have It List summer 2015 edition.

Quorum-chandelier1

This is not the first time the Quorum  6 Light Salento Chandelier in Persian White has made an appearance on the Gotta Have It list.  Why the encore feature?   It begins and ends with my all time  favorite four-letter word, SALE!

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H & M continues to impress with decorative accents big on visual quality and style at an affordable price.  You just can’t go wrong with an accent piece in the decorating darling duo of black and white.  A classic color combination paired with a trending pattern in pop of zebra detail places this ceramic jar accent at the top of the Gotta Have It list summer 2015 edition.

eastlake-chiarStyle Me Pretty

  Named after English architect Charles L. Eastlake, the design of this late 19th century style of furniture is one of my least favorites.  This mass produced style is actually more of a “in the style of” interpretation of what American professional cabinet makers serving as master furniture designers deemed an authentic replica of Eastlake’s design.  Charles Eastlake was not impressed with the results.  Mr. Eastlake and I are of the same school of thought.  His words say it far better than mine.

 “I find American tradesmen continually advertising what they are pleased to call Eastlake furniture, the production of which I have had nothing whatever to do, and for the taste of which I should be very sorry to be considered responsible.”  

~ Charles L. Eastlake

That being said, the Eastlake style chair in the above image from Style Me Pretty demonstrates how a chic update can transform an otherwise dated piece into a hip and happening accent chair focal point.  Not all antique furniture pieces are prime candidates for paint, but in the case of Eastlake furniture I say pick it out, shake it up and paint it pretty.

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Light Pink Shag Faux Fur Fabric ~   Cherry Blossom Velvet  ~  Crystal Upholstery Nails  ~  Faux Fur in Mongolian Pink

Late summer means treasure hunting days at one of my favorite haunts, Korner Shoppe Antiques.  This gem of a joint is full to the gills with my kind of treasures, trinkets and trash.  Inspiration struck as I perused the shoppe’s Facebook page so I did what all deal dreaming decoristas do- I sketched out plans for an upcoming project around copper pots and pans.

Korner-ShoppeKorner Shoppe Antiques

One very brilliant episode of Mad Men placed Howard Johnson’s back into the thoughts of a generation of hungry Americans who ordered up cups, plates and scoops of American fare under the iconic bright orange roof.

hojoHoJo

This Howard Johnson’s sugar bowl from Fishs Eddy is on its way to the Places In The Home test kitchen counter sprinkled with memories of summer vacations, motor lodges, fried clams and 28 flavors.

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What home decor items will you be adding to your Gotta Have It List summer 2015 edition?

Paging Friday, March 20th: First Day of Spring 2015

Paging Friday, March 20th.  I don’t believe I’m going out on a limb here when I say most of us are more than ready for the first day of spring 2015 to make an appearance in weather reports, gardens, flower beds and home decor accessories. Gloomy days and frozen nights of late make a very good argument for the hurried anticipation of spring’s arrival.  North, south, east and west- it’s time for spring to get to springing. I’m for less of this…

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and much, much more of this.  Blooming trees, color on parade flowers and budding plants, warm temps, sunny afternoons and swing time works for me!

First Day of Spring

Have you ever seen the movie Waking Up in Reno?

Waking-Up-In-Reno1Miramax

This silly rednecks on a road trip resonates with our crowd in a we know people exactly like that kind of way.  One particular dialogue exchange between Billy Bob Thornton (as Lonnie Earl Dodd) and Patrick Swayze (as Roy Kirkendall) in regards to the customized Chevrolet Suburban they would be traveling in hilariously hit home.

Lonnie Earl: Nothing’s too good for my friends.  We’re gonna be ridin’ and stylin’ and profilin’.

Roy: It smells loud.

Lonnie Earl: That’s probably that Corinthian  leather, is what that is.”

My uncle, a Southern gentleman of few words and good taste, was in the carpet and flooring business for years before embarking on his career as the cinnamon bun king of central Florida.  Loud was his word of choice when describing busy colors, bold fabrics and pungent foods.

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Horchow

The MacKenzie-Childs Flower Market Outdoor Butterfly Chair is exactly that, loud. Subdued in its statement it’s not, but then again, neither is the beauty of spring. This chair captures the iconic look of the brand with the perfect amount of funky fun, live out loud color flair, and unique interpretation.

bee-tea-potZulily

Speaking of loud, the buzz of the bee is the sound of nature at work. The bee makes spring things happen in the great outdoors as well as indoors with a gorgeous result.

bee-finialQueen Bee Finials

wallace-Napoleon-Bee-FlatwareWallace Napoleon Bee Flatware

Thibaut and Sunbrella bring classic style and outdoor durability to spring 2015 with the Portico collection.

Thibaut-Sunbrella-fabricsPortico ~ Thibaut

The Portico collection offers fabric selections in a gallery of vibrant colors and patterns synonymous with patio, deck, porch, courtyard and sunroom fun in the sun and shade style.

spring-flowers-purple1            Midwest Living ~ Architectural Digest

LilacLilacs ~ courtesy of Better Homes and Garden

We’ve got less than a month to go.  Hold on, the loud and lovely spring band will soon be Marching in.

Love your style!

Interior design, Decorating and Home Decor Trends 2015

Fresh on the heels of ringing in the new year comes the new year’s trend buzz. Design forecasters, decorating prognosticators and discerning decoristas are weighing in on what they believe will be the interior design, decorating and home decor trends 2015.  There is plenty to talk about in regards to the new colors of the year announcements, forecasted trends and carry over favorites from 2014. Let’s take a look-see at what’s in store, shelf and source for trend 2015, shall we?

 

Interior Design, Decorating and Home Decor Trends 2015

Interior-design-Decorating-home-Decor Trends-2015

Colors of the Year 2015

Color is back.  Did the folks at Benjamin Moore, Pantone and Sherwin-Williams get it right?

colors-of-the-year-2015

 

Metallics and Mixing Metals

This is one forecasted trend I continue to lean towards and admit to having quite the decorating crush on. Bring on the metallics and art of mixing metals in the name of all things home furnishings and home decor accents beauty.

 

Let there be lacquer

A strong look for a strong statement, lacquered walls and ceilings shine the statement spotlight on high gloss glamour.  Don’t buy into the notion that lacquered walls and ceilings are only meant to carry a small space.  Lacquered lies, I tell you!  Drama deserves to play the big room, and a lacquered finish will deliver on the promise of performing as the shining star of statement making style .

Three trends for the price of one gorgeous look- Chinoiserie, a mix of style, and the color infusion rule of thumb follow-through and belief that every space needs that touch of black.

entry-hall-patternTraditional Entrance Hall by  Mario Buatta

 

Pattern on pattern at play

If one is good, and two is better, then three, four or five…

pattern-skona-hemSköna hem

pattern-mixJoss and Main 

 

Open Shelving

Open shelving doesn’t seem to be losing its wide range appeal, and, in fact, is moving away from strictly a form and function design and decor option for kitchen and breakfast areas.

open-shelving-Home-GoodsHomeGoods

HBX020110_105 Kitchen, Cape Neddick, MEHouse Beautiful

 

Things are tuft(ed) all over in classic leopard-print for 2015

When a classic print such as leopard is paired with a timeless textile form process as classically chic as tufting is, the result is trend setting elegance worth decorative consideration.

tufted-chairBosana Tufted Armchair

The following statement appeared in my Decorating Trends for 2014 post:

“I said this last year and why change it if the words hold true?  Good trends possess not only the quality, but the look and decorative chops to become even better the second, third or hundredth time around when done very well.  I do believe there’s another word for it, classic.”

The success of a trend is often measured by the acceptance of the designing and decorating public, ease of implementation into established decors, and the decorative ability to show staying power.  A blip on the trend radar, a pass or fail fad, or timeless classic must try- what say you about the these interior design, decorating and home decor trends 2015?

Love your style!

Holiday Drama: Home Decor Statement Pieces

Dramatic statement pieces aren’t expressly exclusive to holiday fashions. Decoristas never need an excuse to home decor accent and accessorize, nor do they shy from reminding Santa it’s perfectly fine to add home decor statement pieces to his list.  At this most festive and stylish time of year, home is the star of the meeting, greeting and eating holiday show. There’s no time like the present to add a few home decor statement pieces to your holiday wishlist.  I connected the dots to this Christmas wishlist conclusion as I sketched out a potential design alternative for a client.

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The homeowner wants several items that will stretch the budget tighter than tight, and realizing that fact commented, “I guess I could always ask for it as a Christmas present.”  Christmas bells went off and the Elves got busy dropping hints.  The piece in the image below stresses my tried and true belief that to complete a statement space you must include a statement piece in black.  The slender depth of the Pulaski Tara Hall Chest is a perfect fit for a breakfast area.  Accent chests offer superb storage and style options for dining rooms as well as kitchens and breakfast areas.

kitchen-Pulaski+Tara+Credenza

Rustic lodge meets gotta have it list style with the Avery natural gray kitchen island.  Kitchens are on holiday parade this time of year.  I love to “decorate” my kitchen for the holidays.

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The polar opposite of boring-done to death-everybody else is doing it, mixing periods and styles is being embraced more and more as the new kid on the block in design style.

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The proof of the point hangs with this experimental pairing of an old-world charm of this Parisian white chandelier framed with two sleek and modern Hicks pendants in bronze and black.   

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We’re considering hanging this lighting trio over the island area.

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dining-room-tables-for-entertaining-12Architectural Digest

baxton-studio-trumbull-modern-setteeBaxton Studio Trumbull Modern Settee

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Baxton Studio Witherby Gray Linen Modern Banquette Bench

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Adesso High Back Chair by Ebanista

Home Decor Statement PiecesArgentario Panels by Uttermost

Dear Santa:

 Love your style!

DIY Project Inspiration

About the time I think it’s time for a blog vacation, I see something so gorgeous, so share worthy, my blog writing, sourcing and general gabfest battery is recharged and DIY project inspiration is born.  Thank you, Better Homes and Gardens.  The summer months can be as hectic as they are relaxing, and with that in mind I am tailoring my blog posts to suit the on-the-go set.  Pretty is as pretty inspires.

 office-colorsBetter Homes and Gardens

Leopard prints are spot on style. This timeless look falls into the category of classic in the interior design and decor fabric hall of fame.  Don’t share the leopard love?  Here’s a suggestion.  Introduce leopard print in a small but statement making way like the upholstered chair bottom in the above image.  It will either make a bigger impression on you than you think, or it will only be a small bump in the decorative road to change. Vintage chairs can be found for cheap or free at second-hand shops, thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets and curbside boutiques (one man’s trash is another man’s DIY project).

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Pick a fabulous designer color in your favorite brand of paint or spray paint and chalk it up, distress it down or go glam.  Fabric remnants are a do it yourself upholsterers best friend and find.  Upholstering a chair bottom is about as easy as a DIY project comes.   Link love: how to reupholster a chair seat.

DIY project inspiration

Low cost DIY projects keep beginners anxiety and buyers remorse at bay and spells  D-I- Why not?

Love your style!

Dining Room Chair Fabric Considerations Part II

Today’s post finds us “re”visiting the dining room chair fabric considerations. If you missed the first part or need a refresher you can find it here. Locating an image to show the look I’m going for is not as easy as you would think. Fun, but not easy.

I was thrilled to find the above image and couldn’t wait to share it. It’s truly a decorative inspiration, and does beautiful justice to show the color for the dining chairs as I see it in my mind’s eye.

While not the color I am going for, the above image shows the general idea of how I want the paint application to look. The distressed(aged) effect will definitely come into play, but to what amount I’m not sure. Not to worry, nailheads will be revisited. After careful reconsideration, I am leaning towards replacing the original nailheads with newer, smaller and more decorative ones. I hope by the time you finish reading this post it will not be too confusing.  Hang on friends, my train of thought is not that confusing nor is the dining room chair redo project.  That’s the beautiful thing about home decor projects- our colorful world will still exist if paint and fabric mistakes are made.

Choosing paint color is a breeze for me.  Choosing fabric is not, and this is the reason I’ve been known to have a Carrie Bradshaw moment.  One of my favorite lines from Sex And The City is from the episode A “Vogue” Idea. As Carrie enters the accessories closet at Vogue she sees before her several hundred items lining up to make her Vogue dreams come true. As she tries to absorb the moment, couture sensory overload takes over.  With beating heart and fashionista eyes wide open she exclaims, “Oh, my God! It’s too good! I’m sorry, but it’s… it’s too good!  This is too much! How can this be?”  Believe me, I get it!  I’ve stared at so many lovely and wonderful fabric samples over the last week that I now find my interior design and home decor eyes  in fabulous overload.  And may I just add that it is all so very good!

These samples have laid the groundwork for the fabric selection. Of course, the final selection will be based on how the color of the chairs comes out. One never knows what one will screw up.

We are driving up to North Louisiana next month on business.  I’ve informed Dave the Builder a side trip to Fabulous Fabrics is now on the schedule.  I’m sure he is utterly thrilled, but I’m determined to leave no stone or fabric bolt unturned.  After all, shopping is the best part of the “re” process.

Love your style!

 

 

 

 

 

 

images via Providence Ltd. Design, This Ivy House, Wikia