Category Archives: Interior Design

Planting the Seeds of Change: A Decorating 180

Inspiration is everywhere made good on its promise this Mother’s Day.  Dave the Builder heard the something out of the ordinary call, gifting me this most unique and exquisite Italian heather plant for Mother’s Day.  This visually striking plant in all its classic pink and green color combination glory is summer planter poised and ready.  Giving thought to what type of planter befits this beauty, the usual suspects in my traditional rotation failed to impress.  It appears a decorating style metamorphosis is taking place, a planting the seeds of change decorating 180.

Italian-heather

 “In gardening, architecture, landscape design and interior design the principles are interchangeable – or, at the very least, highly adaptable.”
  — Charlotte Moss

 

The preferred decorating style of choice at Places In The Home is traditional with a twist, but styles and tastes evolve as they should, and mine are no exception.  If only on an experimental basis for the fresh and updated look of it, try introducing one or two accents, colors or patterns from a different decorating style to the space.  A decorating 180 turns up the volume just enough to keep things visually interesting.

boxwoods

I paid a visit to the Hopefully Classic warehouse (storage unit) a couple of weekends ago to do a bit of shopping.   Shopping from within is a tremendous concept.  I become reacquainted with items in the inventory, an afternoon of hunting and digging for treasure qualifies as an excellent workout and the prices can’t be beat.  I pulled a set of decorative concrete planters (one of which is shown in the above image) to pair with two small boxwood plants I bought marked down at Lowe’s.  The picture does not do the planter justice, and as stunning as these planters are, do these lovelies qualify as my personal decorating 180?

garden-basketOrlandi Statuary Round Basket Planter

Hold the phone!  This Orlandi Statuary basket planter may be all the style sashay towards a decorating 180 needed to calm the winds of change. The style deviation is subtle enough not to overwhelm the process while staying true to the traditional foundation. Throw the eye a curve ball every now and then and hit a style home run.

Love your style!

 Read more from Charlotte Moss Green Rooms in Introspective on 1stdibs

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Filed under accents, Accessories, color combinations, color palette, Decor, decorating, decorating styles, home and garden, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, Interiors, lawn and garden, pattern

Sink Oh D (as in Design) My Oh: Kitchen Sink Styles

In interior design and decorating celebration of Cinco de Mayo on this 5th day of May, I am featuring five stunning kitchen sink oh d (as in design) my oh kitchen sink styles.

Kitchen Sink StylesTraditional Home ~ Apartment Therapy

First up we take a look at our house favorites, the marble and natural stone kitchen sink.  Marble and natural stone sinks impress the eye with a timeless and tasteful touch of luxury balanced with performance capability.  The porosity of natural marble and stone makes this material easily susceptible to stain which gives pause to some when considering the use of these types of sinks.  Over time the patina “rests” and becomes a perfectly imperfect design feature, one that accentuates the natural beauty of the stone.

sink-metalJohn Derian’s Collected East Village Apartment

Everything old is new again chic is in.  The kitchen sink option in John Derian’s East Village apartment demonstrates that what one person considers functional obsolescence another considers a distinct design feature.

copper-sink1Garden & Gun Magazine

Vintage beauty merges with modern function in the home of Braxton Dixon, the master builder behind the iconic homes of country music legends Johnny Cash and Tammy Wynette. Implementing one-of-a-kind architectural elements into the design of his houses sets these works of building and designing art apart from other exterior and interior standard house designs.  This is most prevalent in Mr. Dixon’s choice of a kitchen sink in his Tennessee home.  A vintage copper candy kettle becomes an architectural showpiece, kitchen sink and unique focal point all-in-one while remaining true to the original integrity, storied provenance and design style of the home.

sink-serviceTraditional Home

What do real estate and sink placement have in common?  Location, location, location! The optimum placement for a prep sink is adjacent to or across from the stove and refrigerator and for good reason- that’s the area of the kitchen where the prep magic happens.  Between me and you, quite frankly, the prep sink is the single most helpful kitchen design feature I have ever become dependent upon in the context of cooking, baking and recipe creating.  Convenience and usefulness alone make it easy to understand why I am a huge fan of the prep sink and consider it a kitchen design necessity.  I look forward to the addition of a prep sink coming back into my kitchen culinary life sooner than later.

Kathryn Scott Design Studio Ltd

Apron-front farmhouse sinks combine utilitarian practicality with decorative adaptability. The look is yesteryear traditional, but the appeal is all modern day must have.  Although these sinks come in both single and double bowl models, the features of the single bowl model seems to make it the most preferred.  Sink size does matter in the day to day KP duty routine we all endure, and the width of the farmhouse sink is a natural fit feature able to hold dishwashing court with pots, pans and bake ware of varied sizes.  Let me also clue you in on another well known design advantage of the farmhouse sink. When there’s too much dish at the end of your I’m pooped out day, the depth of the farmhouse sink works fabulously to your advantage as it conceals many a dirty dish.  That’s my kind of sink oh d (as in design) my oh kitchen sink styles celebration!

Love your style!

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Filed under Architectural, architecture, copper, decorating styles, Design, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, Kitchen, kitchen accessories, Repurpose, Salvage piece

Tripping Down Memory Lane Spring Break Trip Report Part III

All good things and great vacations come to an end. Tripping Down Memory Lane Spring Break Trip Report Part III winds down our 2008 spring break trip to Las Vegas in getting back to Vegas basics style.

Filling In The Vegas Days and Nights: Hotels, Casinos & Restaurants 

Venetian ~

Spending the afternoon at Venetian surrounded by copies of and renditions of famous Italian works and decor was the plan for our Thursday afternoon. The machines, bonus rounds and green felt covered tables will take a backseat to sightseeing and lunch at Grand Lux Cafe at Venetian.

Venetian-domevia

I get into the theme of it all and appreciate it for what it is- a gorgeous imitation of inspired artistic works of architectural wonder.

Venetian-ceilingvia

People often comment negatively in regards to Grand Lux as a dining choice while in Las Vegas.  “It’s a chain. Why in the world are you eating at a chain restaurant?”

Grand-Lux-food

How do we love Grand Lux Cafe, let us count the ways:

The food is always excellent. ~ see images above

The menu offers a wide variety of delicious something for everyone dishes.

The dining room design and decor is lovely.

The price is right.

If it ain’t broke…

I did not break with my dining at Grand Lux tradition ordering the seafood salad and a shared order of double-stuffed potato spring rolls. Dave ordered the fish and chips and gave it 4 forks out of a possible 5 review.  The casino at Venetian was packed. I played $1 Top Dollar slots with no big wins. Dave didn’t fare too well at the tables so he was in hot pursuit of a $1 Double Top Dollar slot machine to play. We both love Top Dollar and Pinball.  I did not receive an ounce of respect, love or pay from the numerous Top Dollar or Pinball machines I played during this session.  I now fondly refer to them as “sucker machines” and Dave now fondly refers to me as a sore loser.  If it was in the cards for me to be a loser, at least the rocking band playing at La Scena (casino floor lounge that sadly is no more) was churning out some fantastic music.  Win, lose or draw I like to get my boogie on.  We have boogied to really fantastic lounge acts playing the casino lounges. That part of old Vegas is slowly going away too.  My parents tell of the now famous singers they saw years ago in Las Vegas when the entertainers were up and coming lounge acts.

Paris  ~

I got it together earlier than usual so we could be on our way to lunch at the Paris Le Village buffet.

Paris-Las-Vegas-Dining-Buffet-Le-Village-Buffet-1.jpg.stdimg.hd.xlLe Village Buffet at Paris

I knew I would want to play before lunch and also figured the line to be seated could be rather long on a Friday afternoon.  I could not squeak out a win, but left the casino floor for the buffet line even. That’s always a win in my book!  The lunch at Le Village was good, but this is a buffet that shines at breakfast. Dave pointed out the French onion soup and I informed him I had worked the French onion soup enough for a while. However, the crepe station did call out to me and I answered apple with raspberries, blueberries and crème fraîche, se il vous plaît.  5 forks out of 5 very French c’est si bon forks.

Paris-slotsvia

Moving Day: From Treasure Island to Rio We Go

I packed the room up with a cup of in-room brewed strong Louisiana coffee in hand. Traveling with a coffee pot isn’t for everyone, but we do it for two reasons.  In extremely short order after my eyes pop open in the morning and my feet hit the floor or carpet I need coffee- hot, fresh and Louisiana strong.  I also like to have a cup or two in the afternoons or early evening when we are relaxing in the room before dinner or a show or just regrouping.  The other reason is pure economics I swear we would go broke by the third day in town feeding our coffee fix.  A fellow Vegas travel nut cued me in on a coffee pot travel tip.

walgreens

There are several Walgreens and CVS locations up and down the Las Vegas Strip. Pop in a pick up a coffee maker and supplies and ignore the initial sticker shock investment.  It will pay for itself within the first day. If you don’t want to contend with packing it up and carting it home, simply leave it in the room. Easy peasy.  It is ridiculous what hotels charge for coffee ordered from room service or in the coffee shops, and speaking of coffee shops- coffee shops are quickly becoming an extinct dining option on the Strip.  I am not the biggest fan of the buffet, but for breakfast dining the beverage selection and cost included reasons this to be a reasonable option.  Dave went down to visit with the host with positive results. We checked out over the television and said goodbye to Treasure Island.

 cokevia

Our host at the Rio met us at VIP-Diamond check in and assigned us a room in the Ipanema Tower.  The room reminded me of the suites at the Stardust we loved. These rooms impress me more in terms of size and layout vs decor. Various tell-tale signs give the age of the property away, but nothing we can’t live with for five nights.  We got our gambling on for about an hour, and finally I declared victory with a $$$ win on a five-line .25 3X  4X  5X machine in front of the performing stage. Cocktail service at Rio was fast and frequent. My server took my Coke order. “Is Pepsi okay?” My “not in this lifetime” answer produced a chuckle on his part. I changed my order to a Shirley Temple (I was on the hard stuff this afternoon) and returned to my play. In a flash he returns with his own version of comedy with a “You had the ice-cold Pepsi?”  I spun my seat around to find him standing there holding my ST with the biggest grin on his face.  We both laughed and he became my cheering section for a big win.  The time clock was ticking for me to be back to the room to get ready for Cher.  Time clocks can be a good thing or a very bad thing when gambling.  It was a good thing this go round and the $$$ win money made it to the room.

Cheesecake-Factory-Forum-Shopsvia

I covered the Cher experience in a previous installment. We hit The Cheesecake Factory in The Forum Shops for our post show dinner of a shared pepperoni pizza, strawberry shortcake and two glasses of Riesling.  Very tasty.

strawberry-cheese-cake-grand-lux

Happy Birthday, Dave!  Shopping for birthday gifts and perhaps something new for both of us to wear to the birthday celebration dinner this evening is the plan, and Vegas knows shopping. Dave was a sport and kept me company while I spent the afternoon shopping at the Fashion Show Mall.  Starbucks supplied our very light lunch break of shared pastry and coffees- just a quick bite of something to keep a headache at bay.  Our plan for the birthday celebration evening was for a quiet and relaxing dinner at the Range Steakhouse at Harrah’s (presently Ruth’s Chris). We enjoyed dinner at The Range so much on our last trip.  We were seated by the window and with James as our waiter (requested). His personality and professionalism adds to the evening.  Dave started with the lobster bisque and I selected the blue cheese and fresh apple salad.  For our entrees we both ordered the 12 oz. center cut pork chop and shared Yukon gold mashed potatoes.  The manager knew we were celebrating Dave’s birthday and sent over the most fantastic chocolate cake with strawberries and coffee for two.  The food presentation and preparation was done very well.  The service and the wait staff could not have been more professional or friendly, and it all equaled a memorable birthday meal in Vegas.

Rio

We were dressed and waiting in the Rio valet at 8:15 AM Wednesday.  Trust me, I am not an up and dressed and ready to greet the day kind of girl.  Dave knew I was serious about this slot tournament.  Grabbed the keys, gave the valet a good morning hello and tip and it was touchdown Flamingo events area.

Flamingo-hotel-Vegas

The tournament was open to all Total Rewards card holders so Dave put down a few $20’s and we were registered for 10:30 AM, 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 12:30 PM, 1:00 PM, and finally 2:00 PM. Wow! That’s a lot of hope and fun packed into a late morning and early afternoon at the dirty bird, and you would think we had a snowball’s chance in the desert of winning.  Goodness knows as many times as we entered we sure thought we did!  We didn’t even come close to placing, but we had an absolute ball trying.

slot-32

The last day in Vegas gives me a pit in my stomach no words can describe.  Staying busy cures it.  Gambling for this trip was officially over.  I had not been able to win enough to make it accumulate over what I started with, and the wins were too far apart from each other to save me.  I find it is easier to swallow if I quit without too much damage to the initial bankroll. The suggestion of In-N-Out Burger for lunch and a business mixed with pleasure venture was met with no complaints. We headed out to dine in style and visit a few design and antiques shops.

4950783496_cff6e4382c_bIn-N-Out Burger

We saw parts of Vegas new to us, and I lucked up on a few items I could easily pack. We grabbed a couple of coffees, parked and watched the airplanes landing and taking off from McCarran International.  I must admit after nine full days and nights in Vegas this was a nice change.  We caught a couple of afternoon fountain shows at Bellagio and it was Monte Carlo time.

bellagio-fountains

Dave and I discovered the Wizard of Oz penny slots complete with flying monkeys, the yellow brick road and the wizard himself.  The graphics and sound effects are amazing, and Oz turned out to be a magical place.  I put in a $5 voucher and cashed out with $$$ for a nice win.  The beautiful Glenda appeared to me in bonus round goodness resulting in the big hit.  I could become addicted to these machines with no problem.  There’s no place like home and Vegas on a sunny winning afternoon.

Vegas-sunrise

The Friday going home wake up call came at 5:30 AM with coffee shortly after. We checked out of Rio and at the car rental return by 9:15 AM.  We were through security and to Continental gate D 20 with fifty minutes to spare.  I took in the final sights of the Strip from my window seat on the airplane.  I settled in for the three-hour flight with good tunes, better memories and big plans for our next trip.  Getting home to a full house of family and friends on Hurricane Gustav alert and all he dumped on Central Louisiana naturally put priorities where they should be. Normalcy is back in our reach and has allowed me to share with you my trip report.  The overall casual tone was the right way to go for us this Vegas trip.  It was easy on the schedule, expectations and the wallet. I wasted no time bringing to Dave’s attention with all the money saved this trip it would be stupid not to book another trip out to our desert oasis within the next six months.  My logic has him thinking about it.  Then again, my logic always has me thinking about Vegas.

Thanks to all who have stayed with the reading.

 

images: The Cheesecake Factory, Grand Lux Cafe, Rio All-Suite Hotel, Google

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Filed under architecture, decorating styles, dessert, Food, French, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, Las Vegas, travel

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