The Decorating Way, Way Back: Decorating With What You Love

Lost, destroyed, misplaced. These are not the words we want associated with the photos of our lives.  A couple of weeks ago I received an email from my have camera, will photograph uncle with these blast from the past photos attached. Tears rolled down my cheeks for the memories and thankfulness to have these back in my life as we know it photo file once again, grainy finish and all. I have titled this blog post the decorating way, way back.  For the hip and happening hashtag crowd, let’s go with #WaybackWednesday on this #ThrowbackThursday eve.


These photos were taken at our old house. Originally we purchased this house as an investment property, but it made financial and logistical sense (and cents) to just move into the property while we were in all out renovation mode with our present home.   On this particular afternoon in early 2000 when these photos were taken, family and close friends gathered back at our home after the funeral of my maternal grandmother.  My grandmother, a self-made woman and antiques dealer extraordinaire, taught me the world of antiques.  I see her everyday when I glance at the many items given to us by her and proudly displayed throughout our home.  Dave the Builder and I have always been big on including family mementos into our decor.  Decorating with what you love makes a house your home.

Bob-Dylan-quoteThe decorative anchors of the fireplace mantel consist of two of my most treasured treasures.


The vintage rose bowl was an anniversary gift from Dave the Builder.  I spotted it in a friend’s antiques store and commented to Dave how I wished I could find one similar to it in our treasure hunting rounds.  As soon as I opened the anniversary gift and saw the rose bowl I knew its new home would be on the fireplace mantel. Of course, this was before my graceful handling resulted in its chip and crack demise.


The Hull Magnolia ewer on the other end of the mantel was Dave the Builder’s paternal grandmother’s.  When Dave and I first started dating he was using the ewer as a doorstop.  A doorstop! Dave, this is an exquisite, mint condition piece of American pottery.  Please visit your local home improvement store for all your doorstop needs.  It is a sheer miracle the ewer did not end up like the rose bowl.

hull-magnolia-matte-ewerLive Auctioneers

The design of the house was a natural fit for our American antique pieces .


The dining room was painted in Sherwin Williams Mint Condition.




The den was painted in Sherwin Williams Fired Brick.  The photos cast an altogether different color.


This is the dining room in our present home painted in Fired Brick.  Lighting is key to true color reads.



Addresses, hair colors, waistlines and fashions have changed over the last fifteen years. Trends have ushered us toward painted furniture, neutrals as color and new traditional modern.  If I had to do the interior of this particular style home all over again, I don’t believe I would change too much of the original interior selections.  They say you can’t go back, but you can remain true to your personal interior design and decor style without apology or comparison.  It’s called decorating with what you love.

Love your style!

Bookmarks, Highlights & Dog-ears: The May Issue Of House Beautiful And The Outstanding Design Secrets Of Annie Brahler

House Beautiful is hands down one of my favorite shelter magazines. Each month when it hits my mailbox I can’t wait to look through the pages of quality interior design and decor beauty.  Undisturbed and attentive, I sit down to the pages of interior design details, articles, furnishings and stunning looks. I am so excited to share with you the May issue of House Beautiful and the outstanding design secrets of Annie Brahler along with images from her Jacksonville, Illinois historical home.  As owner of Euro Trash, a full service residential and commercial interior design, styling and import company, antiquities come into play.

The Douglas Brenner feature with photos by Bjorn Wallander, the ideas for decorating with antiques, and informative Q&A with Annie Brahler is my favorite part of the May issue of House Beautiful.  It speaks to the antique lover and dealer in me, and  shows how well antiques fit into the interiors of not only historical homes, but in today’s homes as well. There are certain days I swoon over fashion, but swooning over homes, architectural features and interior design is an everyday treat.

The May issue of House Beautiful is chockablock full of design secrets.  My issue has almost every page bookmarked, highlighted or dog-eared.

Have you ever been moved to an out loud “Oh, my goodness” by a photo of a kitchen?  Meet the photo responsible for my OMG heard round the world (okay, around the house).  Where do I begin?  The vintage demilune topped with marble and modified for backside cabinets as a kitchen island~ brilliant!!   Antique accents and accessories adorn this totally white hot kitchen, where elegance and simplicity merge in an absolutely fabulous manner.  The bronze chandelier, gold leaf mirror, 18th-century French armchair, 17th- and 18th-century Delft tiles and bluestone columns seize the opportunity to impress.  My two favorite accents are the zinc architectural finial in front of the window to the left of the fireplace, and the Louis Vuitton bag on the floor.  Pay attention~ Louis Vuitton will be featured in another look.  On second thought, why wait?

Behr paint and a Jonathan Adler Union Jack rug are matched to colors of a Vuitton bag in her son’s bedroom.  I knew I liked Annie Brahler’s style!

How are you liking this beauty?  A vintage armoire customized to fit her shoe need and Belle Epoque pink chandelier do a closet good! Repurposing antique and vintage furniture for practical uses to pair with modern furnishings is smart, green and gives what we all want from unique home decor, the wow factor.

The master bedroom headboard began as a neoclassical daybed and finished as a custom pièce de résistance.  I did something similar with a pair of twin English headboards. Dave the Builder hinged them together for a client and voilà, a formal fireplace screen.  Seeing an item for what it is, but recognizing it for what it can become, seems to be a justified experiment with affordable antique and vintage furniture, don’t you think?  Speaking strictly for myself, stripping, painting, refinishing or totally morphing a piece into something totally different from its original purpose never scares me when we aren’t talking mucho initial investment.

Mirrors, mirrors gorgeously displayed on the wall, you and the Dutch chandelier are the gold leaf finest of them all.

A pair of antique upholstered armchairs, also known as fauteuils, grace the well appointed bookcase in the library. The bookcase is made from a salvaged door surround. Unique furnishings reflect a sense of personal style, personality and creative character.

The blonde antique double door china cabinet and caned dining chairs in the breakfast room are from Holland. I love the juxtaposition of formal dining chairs paired with a rustic or casual farm or harvest table, especially in this breakfast room. I addressed this subject in a previous post here.  My advice then is the same now~ never be afraid to blend formal pieces with primitive ones.  The contrast surprises, complements, and is easily capable of becoming the focal point of the space.

The feminine quality of a Louis XV-style bed is quite the appropriate accessory in a historical home and a teenager’s bedroom. The French mirror, balloon shade and crystal for days shaded chandelier strike a balance  between  period pieces and current trends in home decor.  A client at the antique shop remodeled her daughter’s bedroom a couple of years ago.  As per her request, we found a Victorian round pedestal table painted white at auction and later located five upholstered French dining chairs~ four side chairs and only captains chair. I paired the four side chairs with the table and the look was flawless. Both mother and daughter were thrilled with the set, and as shown in the image above, placed the set in close proximity to the bed.

Modern meets glam meets antiquities. Oh yeah, I like the look!  Chocolate walls pop against brilliant white flooring, tiles, the recycled claw- foot tub and sheers. Creative ingenuity is beautifully at work,  and it shows in the use of a single gold leaf wall shelf for linen storage.

There are times when it is indeed better to allow an image to speak for itself, and this is one of those times.  I enjoyed every word and image of the feature, and have a great appreciation of her design, tastes and excellent selection and use of antiques.

“Overdoing it with one thing is kind of not overdoing it.”

~Annie Brahler

Annie Brahler’s own words and design secret does supreme justice to the entire feature.

Love your style!









images via House Beautiful – photographer: Bjorn Wallendar