Category Archives: Interior Design

Tripping Down Memory Lane Spring Break Trip Report Part II

There is no match for seeing a production show, concert or headliner in Las Vegas.  There’s a reason why Las Vegas is known as the entertainment capital of the world.  Over the years, we have been fortunate enough to have seen some of the best entertainers in the world perform on the stages of the infamous Las Vegas showrooms.  Our entertainment selections for this trip fit the playbill, mixed the old with the new, paid tribute to a legendary group of lads, had us hearing voices, and rocked our Friday night in Vegas world.

Cher at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace

Cher-Caesars-PalaceCher at Caesars Palace~ then and now

The backstory:

My first time to see Cher live was in 1980.  It was my first trip to Las Vegas, Caesars Palace and the infamous Circus Maximus showroom.  Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world for a reason, and the best of the best performers and entertainers play Caesars for the same reason- it is the gold standard.  The stages of the Vegas showrooms invented the celebrity A game of which Cher is a master player. This engagement at Caesars Palace was a production extravaganza of Cher’s Take Me Home tour.  I was a wide eyed kid in the Vegas candy store on a sugar high of glamour, glitz, feathers, sequins, female impersonators and Bob Mackie creations custom made for a Vegas state of mind. It was gloriously flashy, dramatic with a capital D and exquisitely orchestrated by the incomparable entertaining brilliance that is Cher.

take-me-home-Cher

I saw Cher again at Caesars Palace in the Circus Maximus showroom the next year with the same enthusiasm and a new Cher convert, my brother. Cher’s “surprise guests” Bette Midler and Diana Ross completely fooled my brother.  My mother and I knew the ladies were in fact female impersonators and informed my brother of it, but he was totally convinced we were out of our minds.  He was amazed at their physical and theatrical likeness, and when he thought about it for awhile he again wasn’t quite convinced.  Fast forward twenty seven years to a new entertainment venue at Caesars (my third time to The Colosseum aka the house of Celine, Dave’s first) and a curiosity to see if lightening would strike thrice. Dave and I were through the security monitors (another new aspect of Vegas) and seated quickly in our seats on the first mezzanine. Cher and company delivered like Domino’s!  When she performed a medley of her greatest hits from her 1970s discography, the ones that in 1980 and 1981 were relatively new hits, Cher turned back time.  Dave loved every minute of the show, lightening bolts and all.  This was a great way to spend an evening in Vegas.

Mama Mia at Mandalay Bay

¥ Kept the memories, lost the program.  Thank goodness for Pinterest!

We Saturday night in Vegas different from most. The circus arena on steroids atmosphere of a Vegas Saturday night can be too much at times. It’s become the norm for us to see the 6:00 p.m. performance of Mama Mia at Mandalay Bay and have a late gourmet supper at In-N-Out. Stick with us, kids and we’ll take you to the best burger joint in Vegas! This is our ninth time to see Mama Mia, and while I like Mama Mia, Dave loves Mama Mia. For this trip we had front row seats A 16 and A 17.  The lobby of the Mandalay Bay Theatre (presently the Michael Jackson ONE theatre) has an art deco style reminiscent of vintage movie houses.

This photo of Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Before the show began we visited with two of the nicest ladies from Salt Lake City seated to our left and a local mom and her six year old daughter seated to our right.  Meeting new people continues to be a part of the Vegas experience that pleases. Dave and I both agreed this particular performance was one of the best yet.  It doesn’t take but a tweak here and a small change there to step up a performance. As it is with interior design and home decor, placing a new spin on an oldie but a goodie helps to keep things fresh and relevant.

ABBA_-_TopPop_1974_5ABBA

We lip synced and kept time to the music throughout the entire show, and the Dancing Queens that we are surfaced during the finale.  Along with most of the audience we were up out of our seats and dancing with the cast members to the feel good gotta love it songs of ABBA.  If this is in fact our last time to see the show in Vegas it made for a great memory.   It was indeed our last time to see Mama Mia! in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay.

Danny Gans at Mirage

danny_gans_theater

In all the time we have been going to Vegas this would be our first time seeing Danny Gans (October 25, 1956 – May 1, 2009).  I purchase discount entertainment vouchers and restaurant coupons to use on our trips, and one of the best outlets is the radio shopping show from local Las Vegas radio station, KSHP.  I stream the show via the internet, purchase the vouchers and have the show mail them out to me.  This particular trip the station was running a promo on one of their afternoon shows.  I answered a trivia question correctly and scored two tickets seventh row center section to Danny Gans at the Mirage.  The theatre was full to capacity, the vibe of the room and the audience was high energy and the laugh-o-meter was set to hilarious.  We loved the band and the live music, and Danny Gans’ impression of Johnny Carson and his The Twelve Days of Christmas skit was fantastic.  He sang Creed’s “With Arms Wide Open” and while his performance was good his band’s performance was great.  I have to admit only a small percentage of the audience seemed to be familiar with Creed, but those that were gave him a standing ovation.

Mirage-volcano-eruption

We left the theatre thoroughly entertained and ready to put the hurt on the Mirage in the gambling department.  The Mirage was well armed for battle against us giving me the honor of being seven for seven in the “I can’t win a damn thing in this casino” category.  Amazing how the Vegas night air and a volcano eruption can make things all better.

Fab Four Live (presently B- A Tribute to the Beatles)

beatles-tribute

The Places In The Home gang loves this Beatles tribute show.  We’ve seen this late afternoon show nineteen times based on the following criteria: the price is right, the 5:30 PM showtime is perfect and the entire performance is live.  This is a fun show with lots of audience interaction.  The four gentlemen who recreate musical magic bring the voices and songs of The Beatles to life with spot on accuracy, and did I mention the entire performance is live and very well done. The set list covers the hits of the Beatlemania, the band’s US invasion, Sgt. Pepper (see photos) and the Abbey Road phenomenon.  Howard Arthur’s performance as John Lennon is amazing.

Fab-Four

Sheryl Crow, James Blunt and Toots at Planet Hollywood: 

It Was Just One of Those Vegas Nights 

Sheryl-Crow-concert

Toots is a Jamaican performer Sheryl Crow discovered and invited to tour with him. We had never heard of him so going in we had no opinion one way or another.  Toots and band put on a great opening show incorporating the audience in the fun with sing-a-longs.  The sweet soulful reggae spin he put on John Denver’s classic hit, “Take Me Home, Country Roads” was worth the price of admission. This sing-a-long finale ended his set on a high note, and the good mood kept concert goers happy as the crews were breaking down his set and getting James Blunt and Company in set up.  More concert goers started to trickle into the theatre signaling the people watching part of my brain to get busy taking it all in.  People, clothes, conversations, pairings- it all fascinates me.  We humans are an interesting people.  It was hard not to notice the large cameras, cranes, booms and cables being set up in and around the theatre.  I commented to Dave it appeared some type of filming would be taking place during the evening.  We learned the filming was for a feature showcase for A&E’S Private Sessions.

sc-share-newSheryl Crow ~ Feels Like Home Cover.  How’s that for staying on the all things that make a home topic?

I also noticed a couple to my left heavily making out. A girl in what I guess to be her mid 20’s and her mother are seated to my immediate left, and suffice it to say we are privy to this up close and way too personal floor show.  The mind doesn’t kick in quick enough with the stop looking command when it is stunned.  About the time I am turning away, busted!  Make out man decides to strike up a conversation with me, the mom and her daughter.  He tells us they have been married twenty five years, are empty nesters, and just want to, how did he put it? He and his lady love just want to “be all over a good time.”  Is that what they call it now?  Believe me, these two were all over something for sure.  Their show within the show picked up steam as the night went on, and by the end of the night it was a free for all with a few added cast members.  They were in ecstasy, if you get my drift.  To put the cherry on top of the cake, about every five minutes this guy would scream out Sheryl (Sh-air-real) in a sort of New York/New Orleans blended accent.  How many times do you think Dave had to hear me mimic this guy’s cry of Crow for the rest of our trip?  All in all an excellent evening that far exceeded my expectations in the very best way.  To date, this is the best time I have ever had at a concert in Vegas. We entered the venue at 7:10 pm and walked out at 11:15 pm rocked and ready for a Vegas Friday night turning into Saturday morning.

More Only in Vegas to come.

 

images: Biography, Caesars, VTheater, Sheryl Crow, Wikipedia

  

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Filed under Interior Decorating, Interior Design, Las Vegas, Music, vacations

Tripping Down Memory Lane Spring Break Trip Report

As the calendar shows April and temperatures spike toward fun in the sun, thoughts of spring break and summer vacation getaways cross the minds of many.  Everybody loves going on vacation-kids love it, adults need it, and the travel and hospitality industry banks on it. Dave the Builder and I have had slowed our vacation roll over the past couple of years.  New career paths, project deadlines and family responsibilities will do that however, weekend getaways and reading back over trip reports from trips of vacations past keeps vacation hope alive. Our son is home this week for his spring break vacation which will find me pushing back from the keyboard for a couple of days.  I thought I would share our spring break trip report from our 2008 trip to Las Vegas. You may be asking yourself, “Who wants to read about a Vegas vacation from seven years ago?”

“People don’t take trips… trips take people.”  

John Steinbeck

Call me crazy, but I’ll read a trip report about anytown, anywhere, anytime and although prices, airlines names, hotels, restaurants and the live and in person names on the marquee change, the allure of the Vegas vacation remains the same.  Travel deals, hotels, shows, dining, shopping and gambling- they’re all present and accounted for.  I’ll post the report in a couple of installments as not to take too much of your time, bore you or both.  As for staying on topic, you will find personal opinions and comments on design, decorating and architectural elements peppered throughout.

United

Getting There, Staying There… Air and Hotel

We used Continental OnePass miles (now United) for the airline tickets with the extra added travel bonus of no charge for our first or second bags due to acquiring our tickets before April 2008.  Flying on reward tickets has the drawback of limited departure times.  We chose the crack of dawn departure time of 5:40 AM CST which is early, but we look at like this- you arrive in Vegas around 8:30 AM PST with an entire day of Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas in front of you.

Bellagio-lobbyFiori di Como by Dale Chihuly

We came to the decision to go back to basics in terms of taking the Bellagio and Wynn way of doing Vegas off the table for this trip.  Our last two trips bordered on decadent, and although we loved every minute of it, we were ready to take it in a casual flow direction. We almost caved with the great offer we received from Wynn, but our last stay was so near perfect I decided to just savor the memories. This is a short comment and review of sorts given to a fellow hey baby, let’s go to Vegas travel friend.

“Great detailed report.  Aren’t they the best?!

I am in the great pay vs. comp room debate. We stayed at Wynn in 2007 for our 25th wedding anniversary.  My tastes do not tend to favor the “Californication” decor, but the room delivered a studio apartment feel perfect for relaxing.  It wasn’t until we checked out that I realized how much I enjoyed the room.  The interior design and room decor was neither overpowering nor understated.  It achieved what good design and decor does, it made a lasting impression.  I will give Wynn and Encore more play in the future in hopes of scoring a comped room.

wynn-room-view

Some of our best Vegas memories are from our stays at Venetian and Palazzo.  Dave and I love the decor, customer service and attention to detail.  I have read negative reviews regarding the “fakeness” of the architecture and the use of plastic and faux finishes.  

Venetian-hotel-lobbyGrand Colonnade ~ The Venetian Las Vegas

For the love of all things Vegas, give it a rest!  I’m an interior decorator, and even I don’t look that close nor care.  Do you know the cost involved in attempting an architectural replication with authentic materials?

Palazzo Hotel

The suites of Venetian, Venezia and Palazzo are some of the best the strip has to offer.  Yes, the property makes a fine impression on us!”

VEN-Prima_Sqft-600x600

As soon as we got home from our last Vegas trip I went right into trip planning mode. Dave and I bounced plans and opinions around until we fined tuned the plan.  Our hotel choices for this trip came in at everyone’s favorite Vegas vacation rate- comped.

Vegas Vacation Tip #1 (any other vacation destination applies here, too):

Experiencing sensory overload while in Vegas is to be expected. One tends to lose track of time, sleep and the ability to think straight. Over the years our trips have run the gamut from whirlwind in town for only 72 hours full tilt blowouts (younger days) to ten days and nights Vegas isn’t going anywhere themed trips. Regardless of the number of hours or days of the trip, I like to have a pre-trip pre-planned agenda to loosely follow as more of a daily guideline than a hard and fast schedule.  Schedules and time commitments don’t really coincide with my idea of relaxing and recreating, but shows and dinner reservations wait for no one.  Then there is the dreaded “what do you want to do today?  I don’t know, what do you want to do today?” kiss of vacation death.  If you’re not careful you will blow valuable vacation time suspended in decision mode. Besides, don’t we all do enough of that at home a la “what do you want for dinner?  I don’t know, what do you want for dinner?”  Yeah you do!

Treasure-Island

We try to put a new spin on Vegas each trip by staying at properties we have yet to stay at.  I logged on to our MGM Mirage player club accounts and discovered a great offer from Treasure Island. We booked Treasure Island Tuesday- Saturday with $$$ in free play and two comped buffets included.

Mirage-Treasure-Island-RioTaking aim at the Rio from our hotel room at TI. Note the reflection of my old Fuji Finepix Z camera in the photo. Great camera and a not so great photographer.  I’ve come a long way, baby. 

Caesars Entertainment came through with a Summerfest Slot Tournament offer of four comped nights at Rio with one night at $78.  Our host from the Stardust is now at Rio, and with one well placed phone call we were set with all five nights now comped.

Spring Break Trip Report Las VegasMy, how the look of the Las Vegas Strip has changed over the years. 

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas!

We landed at 8:49 AM PST, and after the usual airport doing that thing you do we arrived at Planet Hollywood’s front door around 10:10 AM. We wanted to kill an hour or two before checking in at Treasure Island.  Dave the Builder loves playing blackjack at Planet Hollywood, and I couldn’t wait to hit Sephora, ABC, and L’Occitane. Dave won therefore he was a happy Vegas camper.  I, on the other hand, contributed funds to the Vegas retail economy and county sales tax office. With goodies in hand we headed the rental car North to TI. The check- in line was wild at 11:45 AM, but the lines moved quickly.  Stephanie at check- in was a delight to deal with, and after a nice conversation we were assigned room 31036 with exactly the view we wanted. The room was on the corner with one window facing Venetian and Las Vegas Boulevard. The other window offered great views of the Strip from Mirage to CityCenter. The bellman was up to the room with the bags in short order, I checked my look in the mirror, and it was time for our favorite lunch destination, The Palm at The Forum Shops in Caesars Palace.

 The_Palm_Restaurant.svgThe Palm Restaurant

The Palm Business Lunch is one of the best wins of every trip for us. We both ordered the filet with salad and Dave had Lobster Bisque for an appetizer. Our “we’re in Vegas” lunch was exactly what we needed.  Well, almost. What we needed was to get our gambling on at Caesars.

Caesars-Palace-Casino

On this our first day of gambling ~

Dave’s game of choice is blackjack, and my games of choice involve a comfortable seat, a button, a Shirley Temple, and some reel action. I was playing on a $1 WOF machine and just about to call it an evening when I got the bonus spin and the sweet cry of Wheel-of-Fortune sang out.  The “wheel” landed on $500 for a nice ending to the Caesars afternoon. We dragged our tired bodies back to our home base of Treasure Island. I set the we’re in Vegas, baby mood by tuning the sound system to the smooth jazz station, turning the A/C thermostat to arctic blast, and pulling the drapes back for prime neon viewing.  Sticking with our first night tradition, we ordered a light supper of French onion soup, chicken noodle soup, toast and milk for two and one of the best slices of cheesecake we have had in quite awhile from room service.

french-onion-soupBlurred photo to match my blurred eyes.  It’s been a long first day in Vegas

Our lovely evening ended at the embarrassing hour of 9:15 PM.  I announced to Dave we are officially old as my head hit the pillow.

Treasure-Island-hotel-room

Stay tuned. It’s just getting good.

 

images: Chicago Window Expert, The Venetian Las Vegas

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Filed under appetizers, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, Las Vegas, travel, vacations

Making A Comfortable Bed

Did you make your bed?  Let’s see an imaginary show of hands of the ones who have heard this question, oh, I don’t know, say 5475 times in your life?  I came to that particular number by assuming by the age of five the simple chore of making the bed was on the allowance radar of most parents.  With the the median age of first leaving home for males and females being at 20.35 years of age, that’s roughly fifteen years of making the bed.

15 X 365 = 5475

 

If my math is correct, that ladies and gentlemen is a whole lot of bed making. Fast forward to adulthood where a relaxing and good night’s sleep begins with making a comfortable bed.

why-do-I-have-to-make-my-bedWhy Do I Have to Make My Bed?  ~ Wade Bradford

Routine, by definition, is an action or actions performed as part of a regular procedure. Decorating is rooted in the routine of interior beautification. Our bedroom serves as a peaceful and serene sanctuary, and making a comfortable bed promotes this relaxation technique.  The basic ritual of making the bed each day is a most effective way to give the space an overall polished and finished look. When it comes to making the bed I have a confession to make.  Even though I do make the bed everyday, I am much more impressed with and comfort zoned in on the sheets, pillow cases and shams than the bedspread, comforter or duvet aspect of the finished look of a made bed.  A public opinion poll commissioned by the National Sleep Foundation of 1,500 randomly-selected Americans between the ages of 25 and 55 explores how respondents think about elements of their bedrooms and to determine the effect of the bedroom environment on sleep. Findings show 85% of those polled rate the comfortable feel of sheets and bedding as an essential factor in a restful sleep.  Another interesting result finds 73% of respondents get a more comfortable night’s sleep on sheets with a fresh scent.

Bedding Hanging To DryMother Earth Living ~ Photo By Corbis

I love the glamour associated with the classic color combination of pink and green with its summer afternoon spent lounging poolside at The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows chic appeal.

Beverly-Hills-HotelThe Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows

Forget counting sheep, I’d rather drift off to lala land dreaming of warm LA or Miami breezes and tropical island vacations.

linens-green-pink-bedding

Coastal-nautical-life’s a beach designed linens fall into the Goldilocks and the Three Bears category of bedding- not too masculine and not too feminine. This design is just right.

linens-coastal-bedding

Not all bedroom decor styles are created equal or gravitate strictly toward the sole taste of one part of the shared sleeping experience equation. Shopping semi-annual white sales with my mother has become a retail ritual with us, a bed and bath steals deals and famished shoppers who lunch meals sort of day.  We both agree on the importance of thread count, deep pockets and texture, but my goodness do we ever have differing opinions when it comes to pattern and color choices.  The Goldilocks and the Three Bears rule fits this scenario as well.

Ralph-Lauren-beddingRalph Lauren Palmer Bedding

I try to select sheets and bedding accents that are not only visually striking, but strike a nice balance between not too masculine nor too feminine.  A stylish neutral color, classic pattern and low frill factor choice of sheet is the way to go. How gorgeous are these gender neutral bedding options?

linens-beige

A good night’s rest revives, restores and regenerates the mind, body and spirit. The Places In The Home turndown service relies on a comfortable sleep temperature, a generous spritzing of linen spray and our pillows cased in my favorite set of pillowcases.

making a comfortable bedSleeping Beauties

Texture, pattern, color, feel, thread count and making a comfortable bed play a significant role in the production of a beautiful slumber.

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Filed under bedroom, Color, Design, home and garden, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, pattern, Texture

Easter 2015 Plans, Prep and Pastels

Recently I was interviewed for an interior design and decorating publication. One of the questions asked was how would I describe my design style. Traditional with a classic twist answers the question.  Confused?   Allow me to clarify with a visual explanation starring the Easter egg.  Featured in our Easter 2015 plans, prep and pastels is a selection of the traditional plastic pastel Easter egg.

Easter-egg-hunt-centerpiece

The following two impressive examples of interior design, decorating, home decor and home furnishings that illustrate the new traditional with a classic twist Easter egg point.

pink-green-dining-roomHouse Beautiful

Pretty makes the perfect dinner guest.

Horchow-dining-roomHorchow

Our Easter Sunday dinner menu is almost finalized.  Numerous do you/will you eat ________  phone calls have been made to the picky eaters collective.  Dave the Builder submits his requests early in the menu planning stages, our son specifies his desire for his favorite dishes to at least make one plated appearance during his visit home, and the youngest nephew wants only one thing- my Vanilla Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce.  It’s almost a side dish at this point, and I no longer regard it as the star of the dessert table.

contest

I guess I should be more selective with the way I frame the topic of dessert with The Places In The Home gang.  The look Dave the Builder and my mother had on their faces when I informed them we will be going naked for dessert was priceless.  Naked cake, silly.  This naked cake recipe from Just Destiny is right up my alley.  It’s easy, made from the box and the can, and a delicious excuse to feature fresh flowers.  Destiny advises bakers and cake decorators not to get caught up in perfection.  I like her style.

naked-cake

Smart and savvy diy projects always catch me eye.  These terracotta pot napkin rings from Cottage at the Crossroads will set a stylishly spring is here table.  The tutorial for this project is easy to follow and the materials list is not expensive.  Click here for all the how-to information.

terracotta-napkin-rings

I’m contemplating making up a few how does your garden grow themed favor baskets.  A quick trip to the dollar store will provide the essentials- individual packets of assorted seeds, garden gloves, gardening tools and couple of packs of mini terracotta pots.  A cute print out of the terracotta pot napkin ring tutorial will complete the baskets.

Easter 2015 Plans, Prep and Pastels

 

All colors are fair game for Easter decorating.   I love using pastel colors in my Easter decorating color scheme, and a soft and serene shade of pale blue is simply one of the best.

Eggshell-blue-paint-colorsBetter Homes and Gardens

Speaking of an Easter decorating and tablescaping dollar store run and the color blue ~

We need another set of plates in our kitchen cupboard like we need a another set of plates in our kitchen cupboard.  Can you say obsessed?  Simple and understated dinner plates have their place on our Easter dinner table.  I prefer to let the crystal, linens, flatware and centerpiece live out loud.  I am one of the last Southern hostess holdouts when it comes to monogramming the vintage linen dinner napkins my mother brought me back from her last trip to Tennessee.  I’m still on the fence about committing this particular set of napkins to a permanent applique and color choice. Thank goodness for hemstitch cocktail napkins.

Easter-2015

The jury is still out on Martha Stewart’s getting bunny with it napkin fold decision for this year’s Easter tablescape.  It’s got the look, and the men of our family, including our adult son and two nephews, have absolutely no qualms voicing their wishes and requests for traditional holiday menus and decorations. I kid you not, these men like the details.  I’m in the memories business, and far be it from me to buck with the traditional practices of all things house that make a home.   Be it ever so humble…

bunny-fold-napkinMartha Stewart

 

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Filed under DIY, Easter, entertaining, gift ideas, holiday decorating, Holidays, Home, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, Recipes, seasonal decorating, spring, tablescapes

St. Patrick’s Day Decor Favorites In Gorgeous Shades of Erin go Bragh Green

Top o’ the morning to you on this St. Patrick’s Day Tuesday!  These St. Patrick’s Day decor favorites in gorgeous shades of Erin go Bragh green fill the eye and fill the heart with the color of St. Patrick’s Day.

Irish_castlevia

Art-deco-bookends1stdibs

green-hbz-march-hutton-wilkinsonHutton Wilkinson ~ Harper’s Bazaar

St.-Patrick's-Day-decor-favorites-in-gorgeous-shades-of-Eri-go-Bragh-green

Julianne-MooreJulianne Moore in Gucci as featured in Harper’s Bazaar ~ photographed by Camilla Akrans

emerald green color historyDesign Sponge

The History of Emerald Green ~

This brilliant blue-green color was extremely popular in the mid-1800s.  Because it was cheap to manufacture, it was not only used as an artist paint, but as a household paint and was widely used for patterned wallpaper.  Unfortunately, the paint was made with poisonous arsenic.  This made damp rooms, where the arsenic would be turned into a gas by the mod living in the wallpaper paste, a death trap.  Napoleon’s death in exile on St. Helena was possibly hastened by his exposure to the Emerald green wallpaper in his favorite room.

citrine-emerald-earringsMacy’s

Brendan-WongBrendan Wong Design

green-colors-fabric

green heading 2

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Filed under accent chairs, Color, fabric, Holidays, home decor, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, paint colors

What Works For You Is What Works

Inspiration is a funny thing.  There is no hard and fast formula for what, when, how or who will light the fire. There are times when the cart does come in front of the horse, and this is one of them. Scrolling through an image gallery on the Traditional Home website placed inspiration in my blog post thoughts. The kitchen in the image below has a whole lot going for it in the design and decorating department.  Great choice of flooring, natural light, exposed beams, workable layout and a pair of antique tables that serve up style with a side of function as kitchen islands. Repurposing, replacing parts and the repainting of vintage and antique pieces has taken root.  I must admit I often cringe at the sight of antique pieces in the direct line of a can of chalk paint.  I have seen gorgeous (and I do mean gorgeous) reworkings and re-paintings of antiques, paling only in comparison to the highest end of high end furniture manufactures.  I’ve also seen plenty that left the one word impression on me of why?  I prefer to keep the overall integrity in place and in its original state, but as the taste of the buying public changes so does the need for and use of pieces.  Repurposing an antique farm or harvest table, armoire or buffet to be used as a kitchen island, desk, entertainment center or home bar is what’s in at the moment.  Dave the Builder and I stand ready and willing to accommodate the needs of our clients by replacing the original wood top or shelves with marble, granite or a durable wood for practical use purposes. The result is another what works for you is what works piece ready for stylish duty in its new home.

antique-tables-as-kitchen-islandsTraditional Home

At first glance I did give pause to the placement of these sconces, especially the sconce on the far right and its close proximity to the wall.  Paired balance is present, but unless the cabinet door is rarely used the constant swing issue of door meets sconce could be a design deal breaker for some.  Moral of the story? What works for you is what works.

kitchen-gray-wallsTraditional Home

Let’s all gather ’round the grand piano~

Lalanne-sheep-Waldo-FernandezArchitectural Digest

Don’t be sheepishly shy with home decor choices.  The Places In The Home rule book clearly states the design and decorating principle that guides our simple philosophy- your house, your rules.  If you hear something I’m sure it is interior design icons, professors and the by-the-book believers crying out in a collective round of that’s not how it’s done.  To that I say oh pooh!  The unexpected always kicks the look up a noticeable notch or two.  Conformity can be awfully boring.

I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing...”

~ Thomas Jefferson

mix-match-dining-chairsHouse Beautiful

I advise making a mismatched statement in at least one space.  Mismatched dining chairs instantly add the pop of personality factor to the don’t be like the rest of them, darling equation.

dont-be-like-the-rest-of-them-darling

Talk about going for the brilliant and the bold with determination and palette penchant. This beauty takes a giant step away from ho hum, jumping style first into entry envy territory in a very what works for you is what works way.

HBX030115_072 Benjamin Moore’s Twilight 

What works for you is what works.  Always.

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Filed under Antiques, decorating styles, home decor, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, Kitchen, Lighting, paint colors, Repurpose

The Decorative Oomph

The parallels between writing about interior design and decorating and working with interior design and decorating aren’t as different as you may think.  At least four times a year I go back into the blog dashboard and select blocks of posts to reread for the sake of relevancy.  I look at my foundation design and decorating advice as the good bones of the post and keep it squarely in place.  Images and sources aka the accent pieces of the post are what’s up for creative and decorating reconsideration.  Freshening things up applies to design and decor everything, and when you get down to it, do we as decoristas ever really place the period at the end of the design and decorating sentence?  A comma perhaps, but never a period.  New seasons, new reasons and new phases of decorating life bring about new ideas and arrangements.  If interior design, decorating and fashion magazines churned out dated and tired information it would be time to cancel the subscription.  My mother-in-law taught by example the importance of rearranging, re-positioning and refreshing the look of a space in order to achieve a very important element of design and decorating- the decorative oomph.

the decorative oomphTraditional Home

“It is always the simple that produces the marvelous.” ~ Amelia Barr

Now I’m not suggesting a costly and/or timely undertaking. What I’m talking about is applying the principle of musical chairs. There are several definitions for the term, and the confusing, rapid and all over the place definition does not apply here. What I’m referring to is this:

musical chairs

noun

• a series of changes or exchanges of position

An affordable and easier than you think solution to the decorative doldrums is to rearrange and redistribute items.  Some of my best moves, decoratively speaking, have come about from actually sitting still long enough in the space and studying the entire contents of the room.  Sit down.  Look at the accents, art, accessories, etc…   Do items deliver a different look from one position or visual level than another?  Do you notice the decorative oomph? Decorative accents are ripe for the let’s move this to another spot picking.

gold-coffee-table-styledvia

I bet there is not a single one of us who hasn’t moved this over here and this over there at one time or another complete with a that looks ten times better there result.  I call those design and decorating V8 moments.

double-socket-lampsOne Kings Lane

Antiques auctions provided Hopefully Classic and Places In The Home with a rotating inventory. There was a whole lot of updating going on at the shop and at the house. Good and stylish times.  Like a moth to a flame, my eyes and bid card would lock on decorative lamps in need of TLC- total lighting care.

white-pink-light-bulbs

Rewired and ready for double decorative duty as part accent, part task lighting these double socket treasures would be fitted with one soft white light bulb and one soft pink light bulb. The result is visually pleasing and creates a surprisingly balanced look- the decorative oomph.

Renaissance IOne Kings Lane

Is that new?  No, it was in the __________.   As a frequent player of the musical home decor game, I have been asked that question or a variation of it a couple of hundred times.  It seems the biggest decorative impact is made when I move art around.  A quick rearrange of a gallery grouping or swap around is as near an instant response of is that new that I can guarantee. Behind almost every piece of art in this house is a positive testimony to the wonder of nail hole filler.  Here’s a tip: fill in a small nail hole(s) with white toothpaste. We’ve been doing this for years, and it works like a charm!  So does the toothpaste.

Incorporate the decorative oomph into a space by executing a series of changes or exchanges of position.  It’s a great way to rejuvenate the look, feel and personality of the space, and an easy way to balance the scales of space and design on a dime.

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Filed under accents, Accessories, Antiques, decorating, Home Furnishings, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, seasonal decorating

Flawless Gray Areas: Inspiring Gray Rooms

By no means is the crush we design and decorating faithful developed on the color gray over.  There has been no break-up with this new neutral, no we are so over that color revelation. In fact, most of us asked gray to move in and stay awhile. It’s a color your world love affair expanding to many a living room, bedroom and kitchen. The relationship between proven color base of space and go-to neutral is color palette perfection, one that beautifully creates flawless and inspiring gray rooms.

decorating with gray as a neutral colorBetter Homes and Gardens

“The tones of gray, pale turquoise and pink will prevail.” -Christian Dior

 

gray bedroomMayme Baker Studio

Neutral colors are no longer being thought of as dull, boring or unimaginative home decorating, accents, paint and furnishings options. As seen in the image above, gray is a strong neutral, a formidable color that refuses to simply fade away into the background of the wallpaper, chandelier patina, or the headboard. The tones subtlety take control, guiding the eye to the prevalent and pronounced color pops. I really do love how the colors and patterns play so well together on this stylish playground.

gray-breakfast-areaTraditional Home

As the color foundation of the space, gray does not overpower nor underwhelm. It this case, however, the different shades do command attention to detail.

Toronto Custom Home

Recognized in design circles as a space changing tour de force, a gray color palette exhibits the decorative power trio we all look for in design and decorative execution- drama, elegance and style.

gray-wallsArchitectural Digest

Accent colors take to the depth gray offers, proving its impressive ability for enhancing color and creating flawless gray areas. It is quite an amazing and appreciated foundation shade.  

howtohangdrapery_3via

Gray is a stunning neutral, a color that has come into its own as both an elegant anchor and palette powerhouse.

Benjamin Dhong Interior DesignBenjamin Dhong Interiors

Complementing shades of gray frames the walls, marble floors and millwork as an interior design work of art.

gray-bathroomArchitectural Digest

gray-walls-bathroomTraditional Home

Nine impressive shades of gray from Benjamin Moore paints ~

Shades-of-Gray-Benjamin-Moore
Ashley Gray || Revere Pewter || Gray Owl || Silver Chain || Stonington Gray || City Shadow || Street Chic || Smoke & Mirrors || Perspective

velvet-drapesRestoration Hardware

gray-art

French-lead-garden-urnsThe HighBoy

gray-dining-chair

One Kings Lane

As the base or simply as the focal accent color, gray is color capable. It’s a color choice easy to work with, live with and and not grow bored with. And if that is not reason enough to consider incorporating the color gray in your decor take a look at the gorgeous image below.  Shades of gray, when paired with elegant accents in think outside the matchy-matchy box contrasting colors, give the space its personality and command a sublime reaction.

gray master bedroom Better Homes and Gardens

gray-chip-it

 

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***updated post***

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Filed under Color, home decor, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, paint colors

Oscars 2015: Color Goes To The Movies

Hollywood is in its own spotlight this week leading up to Sunday night’s award season crescendo, The Oscars. Considered the gold standard of Hollywood excellence and achievement in film, The 87th Academy Awards ceremony will recognize a most talented field of nominees in Oscars 2015 categories of best actor and actress in a motion picture, film, director, music score, cinematography and costumes among many others.

the-oscars

Of course, the really important aspects of the televised event revolve around the unofficial categories of particular Oscars 2015 interest – best dressed, best designer, best do, best looking couple, best acceptance speech, best host moment, and new to the mix, best selfie. Remember this how many Academy Award winners can you crowd into an Academy Awards show selfie Ellen style from Oscars 2014?

ellen-degeneres-oscars-selfieUS Magazine

Hosting duties for The 2015 Oscars ceremony fall into the talented hands and steps (quite the dancer, this guy) of Neil Patrick Harris.  Hosting The Oscars is a tough gig, so we’ll have to see how this pairing shakes out.

Neil-Patrick-Harris-Oscars-2015-hostThe Oscars

Stand-out moments from Oscars past have become ingrained in our memories. Remember when Sally Field won the Oscar for Best Actress in 1985 for her starring role in Places in the Heart?  Ms. Field’s “You like me right now, you like me!” acceptance speech hitched a ride on the pop culture band wagon for a long and what’s all the fuss about ride.  Anywho, Places in the Heart served as the inspiration for the title of this blog. Home is where the heart is, and the heart of the places in the home beats family strong.

MSDPLIN EC006Cineplex

Do you have a favorite film in this year’s field of Oscars 2015 Best Picture nominees?  The jury is still out in my viewings and selections, but I will say Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel is by far one of the most colorful films I have seen in quite sometime, literally. The Academy Awards show loves color. Gold statues, red carpets, and green rooms- color most definitely goes to the movies, and it stars in The Grand Budapest Hotel.  It’s of no surprise this film is also nominated for best cinematography. The artistically impressive color rich sets and period costume colors jump, jive an’ wail off the screen.  Talk about giving the lines, location scenery, sets and star-studded cast a run for the scene stealing money.

The-grand-Budapest-hotel

The royal red lacquered elevator walls are certainly on trend for 2015.  I am a goner for the color combination of purple and red- a successful and striking pairing in the pop of color world.  This color combination is a staple in the world of neon and advertising for the draws you in qualities shown in the image below. Quick question to you all…

Gustave-H-comforts-Madame-DPopSugar

The phrase “pop of color”- is the interior design and decorating world tiring of this phrase, or is it a short and sweet-exactly to the palette point catch phrase that’s here to stay?  I like it and use the term frequently. Why use twenty words when three get to the heart of the matter.  If you read Places In The Home enough you will recognize my select descriptive terms.  Gorgeous, lovely, decoratively, stylish, and swoon worthy describe things to a classic tee. What’s the point of this part of the conversation?  Words, like color combinations, say so much about personal style.

grand-budapest-hotel-tumblrMoving Colors

The-Grand-Budapest-Hotel-facadeThe Grand Budapest Hotel

Strong, classic color combinations play well to and with the storyline.

gbh_Mendl'sFox Searchlight Pictures

Color has a strong influence over the space it inhabits. Tone, hue, shade and patina take top billing in this color production number.  What is to first appear as basic and utilitarian actually serves as the focal point of the scene. Matte black, rich copper, and natural aged woods, metals and porcelains in blondes and browns frame the scene in period authenticity and scene effectiveness, a genuine color synergy for sure.

the-grand-budapest-hotel-agathaFox Searchlight Pictures

The impressive and color rich sets of The Grand Budapest Hotel places the Oscars 2015 spotlight brightly and boldly on how color goes to the movies. #Oscars2015

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Filed under Color, color combinations, color palette, Interior Decorating, Interior Design

Blue, Brown and Aqua Color Palette

The color spotlight for this week shines on the palette perfection brought forth by the calm, serene and often understated elegance of a blue, brown and aqua color palette.

via

A tried and true color palette choice, blue, brown and aqua is not your average lock you down to basic run-of-the-mill color palette option.  Selections of varying shades work together to serenely frame a space regardless of decorative style.

Cat-Mountain-ResidenceGlynis Wood Interiors

From the subtle shades of coastal blues and tranquil aquas to a bold turquoise paired with a warm Moroccan brown, blue, brown and aqua strike a perfected balance of blended shade and tone culminating in flawless color palette execution.

blue-brown-paint-colorsvia

Working with classic color palette combinations as the decorating foundation and building from there allows for a fresh perspective in the grand color palette scheme of things.

aqua-brown-fabrics-paint-colors

Aqua, turquoise, Tiffany or Wedgwood- the many tones, colors and shades available in the current paint, fabric, upholstery and wallcovering marketplace reflects the popularity of this palette and how it fits in with the design and decorating styles and tastes of today’s decoristas.

Bold Statement

Saint-JamesHotel Saint James

High Impact

turquoise-lanternsDecorPad

Reserved Elegance

blue-brown-aqua-color-palette

 

Resources:

Benjamin Moore HC-69  Whitall Brown ||  Benjamin Moore  2107-10  Chocolate Candy Brown  ||  Aqua Ocean by Valspar  ||  House Fabric  ||Online Fabric Store  ||Inside Wallpaper  ||  Total Wallcovering

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Filed under Accessories, home decor, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, Paint, Upholstery, Wallpaper