Master suite makeover; a work in progress

Everyone needs a project in the middle of a pandemic if for no better reason than to distract from the apocalypse.  As an aside, is anyone besides me thinking this time is a bad mix of reality tv and dystopian fiction, the worst of each form you can find?  Thus, my need to do something to occupy myself.

Paint and Color Scheme

 

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Before this all started, I’d started to redesign my master suite.  Now I’m full tilt into the project.  First up was to paint.  I’m using Farrow and Ball pointing in estate eggshell.  I’ve used it throughout my house in different finishes.  It is my favorite creamy white.  I first saw it used in one of the Kips Bay decorator homes and it’s been my go to ever since.

Next up is the color scheme.  I went back and forth between blue, black, and white and green, black, and white before selecting the green combo.  For me green is restful and relaxing.  I’ve done a black and white room and a green room before.  This room combines both in a combination I’ve not previously used but am loving.  Even better, in selecting the green combo I can use things I already have at the house.

The Bed

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Working with Second Yard in Charlottesville (they are amazing), I selected Thibaut’s Oriental Toil in green for an upholstered headboard.  Alice helped me design the shape and suggested a contrasting black cording.  The result is amazing.  I’m pairing the custom headboard with black and white sheets and a duvet from my linen closet.  I love white bedding so I tend to grab sheet sets from Rue Lala when they go on sale.  Added benefit is that I tend to go with sheets with either green or black embroidery in all my bedrooms so laundry is easy.  For the duvet insert and pillows, my go to is the Yves Delorme outlet in Charlottesville.  They have an annual sale on bedding which is the time to stock up.

The bed skirt was inspired by a lace skirt I found on Pinterest.  I wanted something that contrasted with the headboard.  I selected a sheer fabric and used a box pleat design.  The creamy white color of the fabric ties in with the white in the headboard and furthers that green and white combo.

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For the finishing touch I’m considering a monogrammed bolster pillow from Leontine Lines.  They’ve done pillows for another bed that are to die for.  I’m also contemplating a quilt in either green or black.

Lighting

So far I’ve selected one lamp for the space.  I will need another but I’m still working on furniture and placement so more to come.  The one lamp I settled on is brass with a green and white shade by Fermoie.  The Shade Shop in Charlottesville has an amazing selection.

 

Furniture

I’m still selecting furniture.  At a minimum, I’m going to be searching for a night stand and chest. My plan is to take my time and find pieces I love.  I am repurposing a vanity bench that I already have.  I also found an antique love seat at the local antique barn.  I’m having both the bench and the love seat painted with a black mirror finish using Fine Paints of Europe paint for that mirror finish. Palette Home out of Richmond/Charlottesville is my go to for paint.  I’m using a Thibaut green and white print to upholster the love seat and make a pillow for the bench.

Stay tuned .  .  .

 

 

Organizing the master bath

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I love to be organized and neat.  Nothing frustrates me more than to know I have something and not be able to put my hands on it.  When I first heard of Marie Kondo, I was intrigued; then I watched an episode of her show.  I was completely stressed out.  No more Marie and “sparks of joy” for this one.  I did find Rachel Rosenthal of rachaelorganizes via instagram and become a devotee.  This weekend I decided to stop looking and actually organize my bath.  It was a perfect time.  I’m in the process of re-doing my master suite which includes the bath.  They are almost finished and so what better time to organize everything than when you are putting the bath back together.

 

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I opted for acrylic organizers for the drawers and cabinets.  Amazon and the Container Store to the rescue with idesign and Mdesign containers for everything from makeup to brushes and medicine.  I am in love with the large divided turntable.  I think I want another for the kitchen!  I’m thinking of a second order as I needed another two or three bins than I’d anticipated.

For the counter, I opted for white trimmed in black lacquer bath accessories from Hudson & Vine.  They provide a clean but finished look for the vanity top.  I topped off the look with a powder dish that had been my Mom’s that I’m using for hair ties and a silver nut dish to hold jewelry that I found a few years ago from Gryphon Estate Silver.  They have beautiful things and I love a silver accent.

Now I’m relaxed and can find things again!

 

 

A bit of the familiar

 

Everyone keeps talking about the “new normal”.  I’m not certain what that even is or looks like but I am certain that I needed a dose of the familiar.  This time of year is beautiful in the south.  My normal on Saturday is a trip to the nursery for ferns, flowers, and herbs.  It is a trip I plan and savor.  Once there, I love taking my time. Imagining new combinations, thinking about a cocktail or dinner on the patio and the joy of summer.

I ventured out not certain what I’d find since we are still “closed for business”.  I was pleasantly surprised to find my nursery open for business.  For a brief hour, I immersed myself in the familiar and joyous task of planning my patio for the summer.  How wonderful to think of fun things.

When I left the nursery, my car was filled with herbs for cooking, flowers for the containers and ferns for the front porch.  I’ll take that hour of familiarity in a time that is otherwise so uncertain.

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What is on your fall bucket list?

 

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Are you a list maker? I am.  I have countless “to do” lists both of the handwritten and the digital variety.  Those “to-do” lists are of the mundane type.  The chores that must be done, the work projects, the grocery lists.  I decided that I wanted a fun version, thus my fall bucket list.  So here it is:

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  • replace the ferns and geraniums with mums, pansies, and pumpkins.  Add a few jack-o-lanterns for Halloween.
  • visit a pumpkin patch
  • spend time with friends finding my way through a corn maze
  • try a new fall soup recipe
  • learn to make my great grandmother’s caramel cake
  • take a drive through the mountains to see the leaves
  • Watch a scary movie
  • visit the farmers market
  • jump in a leaf pile

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That’s my bucket list.  What’s on your list?

Garden Week – Virginia

Have I mentioned that I LOVE garden week?  Begun in 1927 to save trees planted at Monticello, every April, for two weeks people open their private homes and gardens through out the state.  What a wonderful fundraiser and treat!  You get to peak inside beautiful homes and gardens for a sneak peak at something beautiful.  Even better, are the floral arrangements done by the local garden clubs.

I always try to make it to the local homes on tour.  Over the years, I’ve discovered entire neighborhoods, homes, and gardens I never knew existed.  I’ve gotten ideas for decorating my home and stolen suggestions for floral arrangements.  One of my favorite arrangements was in a mud room and used hunter rain boots.  It was incredible.

 

humm . . .

 

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I love seeing creativity in action.  Detail and the unexpected are always on display.  How much fun finding the unexpected, like a pair of Hunter boots as a vase!  Then there  is the inspiration factor, it makes me want to spring clean, plant and prepare my porch for use.

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The incredible light bulb

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I’m on a decorating kick.  Last year I purchased a well-preserved arts and crafts style home originally built in 1919.  The first floor is in wonderful condition but the second floor needs some TLC.  I’m slowly working on it one piece at a time.

My latest discovery is the crystal lightbulb.  I “borrowed” this idea from a dear friend.The bulbs look like cut crystal.  They are slightly more expensive than your regular bulb but if you are looking for an inexpensive way to “kick it up a notch”, this is it. The bulbs are available on Amazon and Lowe’s.

I love them in my bathroom fixture.  The shine through the glass shades highlighting the cut “crystal”.  They also look beautiful when you look up at the light.  Instead of viewing a naked bulb you see this beautiful “crystal”.  Something so simple as this small detail and it makes such a difference.

 

Project Bedroom

 

 

7C1C0672-2BAA-4D9C-91DC-64CC5CCA67A9I’m in the process of decorating a bedroom.  As the only girl for multiple generations, I am fortunate to possess a number of family pieces.  Also, growing up in the piedmont of North Carolina, or furniture country, there was access to wonderful pieces and a great selection of furniture.  This time, however, I decided to start with an empty room and see where it leads me.

Thus far I painted the room in my favorite color, pointing, by Farrow and Ball.  I’ve used this color previously and love it.  There is something I love about Farrow and Ball paint and this color is the perfect “white”.  It is more of a cream than a dead white.  It has just enough color to have “body”.  Cameron at Palette in Charlottesville, is amazingly helpful with the paint.  With her help I selected the finish and the color.

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My inspiration piece is a blanket I found during a recent trip to Scotland.  It is this beautiful white, black and pink Scottish plaid.  Even better, it will pick up on the black I painted the sunroom/office walls.

I discovered this beautiful black floral fabric at The Second Yard.  With their help, I’ve designed an upholstered headboard.  It is perfect with the blanket.

I love repurposing what I have.  It is my version of shopping my closet.  By chance I discovered that the lamps in my sunroom are perfect with the headboard fabric  I swapped out the shades from white drum to black oval.  I wanted a slightly smaller shade/ footprint for the lamp in this room.

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I’m also focusing on small details to pull the room together and update it.  For under five dollars, I replaced the pulls on the radiator cover.  Now they look “today” and will fit with the overall look I want for the room.  They also pick up the metal in the fun new fire screen I purchased.

 

I love a living plant in a room.  I tend to have a black thumb.  My Dad used to say a funeral prayer everytime my Mom or I purchased a plant.  I seem to be able to keep orchids alive so I opt for orchids.  Ivy Nursery is wonderful and a great collaborator.

I’m currently debating furniture.  I have one chair and a desk in there now.  I’m debating both.  Stay tuned, this is the fun part.

 

 

Paper versus online?

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I love office supplies and stationery stores.  So many tempting items.  Pens, pencils, notebooks, calendars, agendas, and supplies to organize.  Can we name January organization month?  It is the beginning of the year and time to start fresh and organize everything for the beginning of a new year.

I use a combination of online and paper to keep my life organized.

  • Agendas – I keep two one that I keep by my bed (Inslee by Design at Inslee.net) and one that fits in my tote.

 

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  • Office calendar – I use a circa calendar (weekly version) in the office.  It serves as a diary in addition to a calendar.  Appointments, phone numbers, meetings and projects and related notes end up there.
  • Online calendar – I keep all my appointments entered in an online calendar that is synched to my phone and iPad.  I love having that information electronically available and at my finger tips.
  • iPhone reminder app – I love this app.  I keep my to do list, grocery list and every other kind of conceivable list there.  It synchs across my devices and I can enter due dates.
  • Ulysses notebooks – I keep three going at all times.  One has important facts related to contacts and other key life information.  It is the notebook I take in advent of fire.  Also, it includes information I don’t want available online.  The other notebooks are more project based and hold notes for various projects and from related meetings.  One or both always seems in my tote.

 

  • Online file storage – this is a must and is available from a variety of different services.
  • Circa notebook system – I love this system.  I have custom notebooks for every project.  Small ones for travel, large ones for large projects and everything in between.

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Last but not least is my converted hope chest.  I’m southern so, of course, I have a hope chest.  Actually I inherited it from my grandmother who got it from her grandmother.  While my grandmother kept lines and her memories in her chest, I’ve turned mine into a file cabinet.  I outfit the interior with hanging folders and use it to organize and keep the papers I don’t want online or those things that simply don’t lend themselves to scanning. Added bonus is that the chest looks beautiful in my office.

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The Christmas Tree

My tree is a book of memories.  The ornaments are from multiple generations.  I’ve purchased some, some my mother made or bought, some are from my grandparents and a few from the great grands.  Each Christmas as I open the boxes of carefully packed ornaments I am reminded of the many Christmases past, those special family moments, trips I’ve taken, special friends, and anticipation of what this Christmas will bring.

 

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Acquiring the tree is the first step.  My family always has a live tree and acquiring the tree was always an adventure.  One of the first Christmas trees I remember involved a trip to the family farm to cut our own tree.  The following year the farm was gone so we were off to the tree lot.  Drama ensued when Snowball, my puppy, escaped from the station wagon only to be found curled up by the heater in the cashier’s hut after much drama and tears.  That year was somewhat cursed.  My Dad cut off too many branches from the bottom of the tree as he put the tree in the stand and had to wire them back on to please my Mother.  Once the tree was set up, lights added and fully decorated, my Dad climbed the ladder to carefully place the china angle on the top of the tree.  This angel was cherished and beautiful and a wedding gift.  Yes, you can guess, disaster ensued as the ladder collapsed resulting in Dad on the floor, tree on top of him, and broken glass ornaments scattered across the living room floor.  I still recall my Mother’s cries of my angel, my angle as my father was trapped on the floor under the tree.   Dad was rescued, the tree put back up, new ornaments purchased, and a new tree topper located.

 

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The one thing I never got was why my Mother refused tinsel on the tree.  Her Mother’s tree was a work of art with icicle tinsel perfectly draped.  Her trees were the most gorgeous one’s I’ve ever seen.  She would begin the weekend after Thanksgivingworking diligently up to Christmas Eve on her tree and emptying cases of icicles in the process.   My Mother hated icicles and they were banned from our house.  Then again she decorated three live trees., a small formal one for the living room, the large one in the family room and a white flocked tree in the foyer

I decorate a large tree for the living room and a small tree for the TV room.  They make my Christmas special.

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Christmas Traditions and my obsession with lists.

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I love Christmas.  I always have.  There is the sense of anticipation, the arrival of family, feasting on good food, and, of course, Santa!  This weekend I started decorating for the season and making lists.  List, plural, there as in a gift list, a stocking list, a card list, a grocery list for the makings of cookies and cheese straws.  LOL standing for lots of lists is how I make it through the season.  If it is not on a list, it’s not bought or done.  I confess, I don’t know how my Mom ever did it.

There are traditions that I love to repeat every year and one of them is sugar cake.  This is a delicacy from Old Salem or Dewey’s Bakery that is a bread only made with mashed potatoes, sugar and spices that was always part of Christmas morning.  Christmas morning was always delayed first until it reached 6 am and was appropriate to wake everyone in the house, then for the fire to be started in the fireplace, and, finally, for my Dad to make eggnog and coffee for the adults to enjoy while we opened presents and Santa.  This was a compromise for my Dad’s side of the family as Mom’s side celebrated Christmas (or the opening of presents) following midnight mass on Christmas Eve with wine, cheese and sausage balls.  My mother beautifully melded the two customs with the sausage balls and cheese straws following Christmas Eve services and the opening of presents with sugar cake and eggnog on Christmas morning. Mom was excellent at melding the favorite things of both sides of the family so everyone had what they wanted.  She would have been a wonderful diplomat!

The Christmas stocking is another list venture.  Each member of the household has their own sock to be hung by the fire.  This includes the quadrupeds.  If you saw my sock list you would laugh, sudoku and puzzle books, candy and fruit, dog treats and toys, gadgets to amuse, batteries for those receiving presents requiring batteries and anything amusing I might discover along the way.  I confess, socks are often my favorite part of Christmas.  One of my favorite childhood memories is my Grandfather pulling out the longest stocking I’d ever seen for “Santa” to fill.

So many wonderful memories and so many lists.