Happy Holidays friends! We are T-3 to Christmas 2015, and the joy of the season is electric by way of white Christmas lights and treasured traditions. Welcome to our Home for the Holidays where the theme of comfort and simplicity is well represented.
Our tour is of the dining room and the part of the foyer decked for the holidays. The dining room, a forever work in progress, has seen several design and decor changes in 2015, and will continue to see more in 2016. The walls are devoid of artwork (the piece you see in this photo is part of the kitchen gallery wall) and the style jury is unable to reach a unanimous decision on accent rug vs. hardwood floors. The dining room isn’t the only space getting a makeover. My Mother’s Day gift from our son was paying for the new wallpaper I fell in love with at first sight but took several months to decide if I really had to have it. Turns out I did. Dave the Builder began the project, but real life obligations and unexpected circumstances stepped in and halted the foyer beautification project. Patience is not only a virtue it is a necessary tool of the trade in design and decorating.
On the Monday before Christmas, my true love gave to me. A single Santa leopard-ing
and a Christmas goose in the foyer displayed in front of the new zebra wallpaper sitting pretty (pronounce it prit-tee and it rhymes with tree. Get it? Partridge. Pear Tree).
A holiday table centerpiece of magnolia leaves and holly is indeed so Southern, so holiday, so easy and so beautiful.
Bob’s Sweet Stripes as swizzle sticks and crystal finial ornaments as wine charms? You bet!
I purchased these vintage mini framed Madonna prints for my kitchen gallery wall.
Inspiration is everywhere.
The subject matter is holiday appropriate, and the petite size of the framed prints sealed the DIY deal. Napkin rings it is!
I have collected Victorian inspired Santa Claus figurines for years. Due to the epic move aka the gift that keeps on giving, combining two households into one and the renovation of my childhood home into our new to us home, most of my Santa collection now resides in climate controlled storage. These inexpensive stand-in Santas have no great provenance or famous artist signature assigned to them, but I do love the colors and facial features of these old world replicas.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and this perfectly imperfect image serves as a visual reminder of my personal design and decorating philosophy. Perfection, style and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The life lived within a home comes alive through personal style and taste, and there is nothing more gorgeous than a home that beautifully illustrates personal style lives here. Design and decorate it with a sense of you!
The holiday countdown to Thanksgiving is in full swing. I’ve got three words for Thanksgiving. Bring. It. On!
From roasting the bird to company’s coming to impressive easy recipes to cooking crisis avoided tips to holiday home decor suggestions to beat the holiday band, my There’s No Place Like Home For the Holidays 2016 series is updated, refreshed and ready with helpful Thanksgiving ideas, tips and problem solvers.
Hopefully these handy holiday ideas will keep the traditional or new traditional all things house that make a holiday home Thanksgiving express moving right along.
Angst and alarm over the holiday dinner is not on the menu. This is the most wonderful time of the year, not the most dreaded. I try to be as well planned and prepped for our holiday gatherings as I can. I put the culinary drama on the back burner and let the cooking, baking, holiday decorating, online Black Friday shopping and there’s no place like home for the holidays good times roll.
Size does matter when it comes to all things Thanksgiving. How much food is needed per person is the question on the mind of every holiday host and hostess. The good people at Pop Sugar have got it down to a serving size science with their Thanksgiving cheat sheet.
Dressing? Stuffing? What you call this quintessential Thanksgiving side dish seems to depend on both regional and cooking (in the bird or separately) location and tradition. Our Southern family is team dressing, and our Chicago and Canada family is team stuffing. The one thing we all agree on is that the base ingredient must be buttermilk cornbread. A bread based dish can and will easily dry out when baked, and dry dressing or stuffing is a holiday side dish deal breaker. Stock or broth, and the amount added to the crumble cornbread, is the key to moist dressing. You want the dressing consistency to be soupy but not soggy. The rule of you can add to but not take away from applies here. Add ½ cup of stock or broth at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
A frazzled host/hostess does not make a pretty holiday picture. Don’t try to be a holiday hero, spread the holiday love and the holiday duties around. Taking guests up on their gracious what can I do-what can I bring offers makes it a shared event and helps to eliminate holiday hosting burnout. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did!
Turkey and gravy are the peanut butter and jelly of holiday cuisine. It’s a traditional pairing of flavor deliciousness that takes culinary center stage on the holiday dinner table. Cooking the perfect gravy can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Adding a pinch of salt to the flour before adding any liquid will help to eliminate lumpy gravy. Gravy too thin? Mix together two (2) teaspoons cornstarch and two (2) teaspoons chicken broth or water. Stir or whisk into the warm gravy and simmer until the gravy thickens. If the gravy separates, add a pinch or two of baking soda to emulsify the fat. Oh no, the gravy has a burnt flavor! Remember the peanut butter reference? Simply add a teaspoon of peanut butter to cover up the burnt flavor.
A good carving set is essential to proper and easy turkey carving. If the dreaded happens on the big day and your carving knife is duller than first period math, I’ve got a helpful solution for you. To sharpen your knife, use the unglazed porcelain on the bottom of a coffee mug. Hold the knife at a 30 degree angle and run it across the area a few times on each side.
Our Thanksgiving day cocktail hour leans more towards the slow sip rule of thumb. Tipsy Turkey Times is almost a guaranteed oh, s*!%. Look at drunkity drunk drunk add family member or friend’s name here. My formula for a safe cocktail hour is simple- one (1) cocktail per person for the pre-dinner cocktail hour. The sippers don’t mind, the tea teetotalers really don’t mind, and the booze hounds will get over it. A time and a place as they say. I like to consult the Serious Eats Booze-o-Matic Party Time Drink Calculator as a reference for our holiday set ’em up, Joe cocktail parties.
We consult our dear friend, our trusted expert wine aficionado go-to, for wine pairing guidance when serving turkey. For white wine drinkers, he suggests dry Chardonnay, white Zinfandel or Riesling. A good Pinot Noir will please the palette of the red wine drinker.
Although black is not the only dark color choice associated with dark interiors, it does seem to be the basis for dramatic back in black magic. Black is the new black- a perennial color classic and decorating color essential. What oomph the perfect little black dress lends to a fashionista’s wardrobe, a space dressed from floor-to-ceiling in the color black speaks to a decorista’s personal interior design and decorating style.
Welcome to the Places In The Home first day of fall 2015 home is where the fall is feature. My for the fall of it all decorating is not what I would categorize as a traditional fall home tour, per se, however I do love placing the seasonal decorating accent mark on fall with set spot arrangements and seasonal accessories here, there and about.
I pulled decorative things together from spaces, bookshelf displays, Hopefully Classic Antiques and Interiors inventory, tabletop favorites, ghosts of preserved floral stems past and nature’s arts and crafts store.
A late summer experiment with drying hydrangeas proved successful enough to fulfill my fall and holiday decorating needs.
I bought this framed print at auction. This particular antiques auction was held off the beaten path in the piney woods of North Louisiana. The smalls at this hit the jackpot auction ranged from spectacular to premier, and the prices were equally fantastic.
I chalked it up to coincidence, but it seemed the auctions held in the fall brought forth the best finds. I was like a kid in a big old country barn candy store with a cup of hot chocolate in one hand (it gets cold in the piney woods) and a bid card in the other. Fall weekends offer up a snapshot, a glimpse from the past of those Saturday nights spent at the auction. This framed print reminds me of a not quite, but almost fall stroll through those piney woods. Good deals, good times and great memories.
Hotel china demitasse cups are both a passion and a weakness of mine.
The price wasn’t exactly right for the set, but the I have to have these part of my brain convinced the a better deal is out there part of my brain that this was the last set of hotel china demitasse cups on the planet, and if I did not immediately buy them right then and there the treasure hunting gods would forever rain down it’s full price for you wrath on all future treasure hunts and finds. Retail logic was alive and well.
Layering the look with gold tones and warm textures seems naturally autumn appropriate.
“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.” ― Jim Bishop
Curling up with good interior decorating, home decor and architecture books in the name of all things house that make a home is always in style. Today I am sharing a short list of a few interior decorating, home decor and architecture books I am looking forward to reading cover to cover.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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 functionapplies here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Who’s looking forward to getting their fall baking, cooking and seasoning on? The Staub Ceramic Pumpkin CocottefromWilliams-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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Sourcing and sightings of home decor accents is all in a day’s work and I love it! When I started Places In The Home my objective was simple: to design an all things house that make a home show and tell, a sharing collective of knowledge and experience of interior decorating, home furnishings, decorative accents, home decor where to finds and gotta have it lists. Four years later, I continue to be excited and inspired to show and tell you about items currently catching my eye.
The lines, pattern and form of the Riviera stool delivers style at work and style at home.
J. R. Watkins Coconut Room Freshener smells like summer at the beach. A spritz or two of this tropical delight coconut scented room freshener is all it takes to infuse the space with a light coconut scent so refreshing you’ll be inclined to light the Tiki torches, turn up the calypso music and whip up a blender full of Piña Coladas. I am coconuts for this stuff!
Seaside-inspired and stylish storage approved. I am “digging” this Conch Magazine Basket from Birch Lane.
D I Why yes, I can do this! Three or four drawer chests are just a thrift store, flea market or curbside boutique visit away. For the retail fortunate, check out your nearest IKEA and the Rast 3 drawer chest. At $34.99 + tax it’s a bargain. For the rest of us, I say add this baby into your online shopping cart and justify the shipping cost with my logic. I couldn’t drive to Houston (closet IKEA) for $10 (the shipping cost). Makes cent$. Decorative hardware dresses the look, and a couple of coats of black paint adds the essential touch of drama.
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Blue and white porcelain is classic chic. Eye spy these Tang blue and white salt and pepper shakers as a summer soiree hostess gift idea.