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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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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Charleston, South Carolina

 

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Growing up Charleston was my second home.  My Mom’s family lives there and has for generations.  So when Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, or the summer rolled around, I’d find myself in a car headed to Charleston.  There is something special about the low country.  It is like this warm familiar embrace.  A feeling of peace envelopes me when I find myself in Charleston.

One thing I love to do is wander the streets below Broad.  The architecture is spectacular and the secret gardens that peek out from behind iron gates make you want to grab a cocktail and enjoy.

 

Recently I ventured back for the day and enjoyed the Charleston Sympathy Orchestra Design House followed by lunch and shopping on King Street.

The design house was wonderful.  A typical Charleston single house renovated as a fund-raiser.  I walked away with so many ideas.  Next was lunch on the river at Fleet Landing. The food was delicious , location amazing, but service – not so much.  My tip is to call ahead for reservations or pick one of the other fabulous restaurants in downtown Charleston.  There are many.  A long time family favorite is Poogan’s Porch.  Try the crab cakes!

King Street is and has been the center of shopping for generations.  In addition to Louis Vuitton, Talbots, Kate Spade and the usual luxury stops, you can find wonderful boutiques.  This time I discovered Gretchen Scott and J McLaughlin.  If you find yourself in need of a snack while you shop, check out the French Chocolate Cafe on Society Street (think King and Society).

There is so much to do in Charleston. Take a stroll through White Point Gardens and along the Battery.  Jump into a car and make your way to one of the many beaches on Folly, Isle of Palms, Sullivans, Seabrook, or Kiawah Islands.

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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A change of seasons

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Yesterday I looked down at my calendar and saw the notation, “first day of autumn”.  It’s been cool here in Virginia, somewhat unusually so for the beginning of September, but it also cues a sense of anticipation, of something new to come.  I love the fall, but then again, I love winter, spring, and summer.  The change of the seasons feels like a right of passage.

I enjoy fall for its crisp cool nights, change of leaves, the fall fruits and veggies like the squash and apples I find at the farmer’s market.  What is more fun than a corn maze, mums on the front porch, or  a ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway at the height of leaf color?  As the days grow shorter and the weather cooler there is a sense of an ending as is appropriate for fall and the approach of winter.  The anticipation of spring will soon follow and start the cycle over again.

Growing up I heard stories of my grandmother changing the curtains and rugs for summer and then back again at the start of fall.  Something of that rubbed off for me.  I tend to “decorate” for Easter, fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and, of course, Christmas.  Nothing as elaborate as Christmas, but seasonal centerpieces for each holiday.  So, this week I pulled out my velvet pumpkins for the dining room table.  The geraniums I’d lovingly planted in containers on the front porch at the beginning of spring were on their last leg.  It was time to freshen up the front door with mums for fall.

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As I write this, I’m also making my “must do” list for the fall.

 

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  1. Gather a group of friends and fin a corn maze to explore.
  2. Take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and remember to bring my camera.
  3. Take 29 from Charlottesville to Lynchburg for a drive for leaves and fresh apples.
  4. Find a pumpkin patch and bring home fun pumpkins.
  5. Pull out my ceramic jack o’ lanterns for the front porch.
  6. Plan a movie night for all my favorite scares movies, calling John Carpenter!
  7. Football and tailgate Saturday, bonus points if I can arrange it for Kenan stadium.
  8. Cook up a pot of Brunswick stew.
  9. Change out my closet for warm clothes.

What is on your must do list for the fall?

The Summer of Show Homes: Southern Living Idea House 2017

I call this the year of show homes.  I’ve visited all that are near me and a couple, not so near, that  I’ve stumbled across.  While I missed my annual trip to the Kips Bay House in New York, I did make it to the Charleston Symphony House, the Raleigh Boys and Girl House and now the Southern Living Idea House.  I think the decorator houses appeal to some dormant creative gene in me.  I love seeing how someone puts together a room.  It gives me ideas for my own home.

 

This year’s home is not my first Southern Living house tour.  I’ve visited several with the last one being the one Bunny Williams did in Charlottesville.  It was spectacular.  This year’s lived up to the Southern Living standard.

The 2017 idea house is found on Bald Head Island, NC.  Bald Head Island is located at the convergence of the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean and is accessed by a twenty-minute ferry ride from Southport, NC.  The island is idyllic.  A subtropical climate, prime white sand beaches, birds, and sea turtles all make for a wonderful escape location.  Travel on the island is principally by golf cart or bike – no cars!

There were many details I loved about this house, but the fire pit and outdoor kitchen have to be at the top of the list.  The laundry room was another highlight for its design.  The living room and porches were beautiful and I could just imagine them filled with family on vacation.  The master suite was another favorite and the closets were to die for.

There were choices that left me scratching my head.  The master bath was beautiful.  I particularly loved the shower design but where was the tub?  The outdoor shower was lost on me.  Not so much the concept but the way this one was designed.  If I’m coming off the beach, then I want to be able to access the shower without going through the house.  The gourmet kitchen was something of a miss for me.  I liked the appliances and overall design but would have preferred different counter tops and where was the pot filler?

Tips I may use?  I loved the drawer refrigerator in the game room over the garage.  It was perfect for drinks and snacks.  Finishing the wallpaper with grosgrain ribbon in the upstairs bath off the “yellow” room was a nice touch.  The hooks near the door to the garage were a nice touch for all those things like totes, recycle bags, hats, and dog leashes.

If you get the chance to visit the home or just the island, do so.  It is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.  Take time to visit Old Baldy, the decommissioned lighthouse.  It is the oldest lighthouse in North Carolina that once lit the way for sailors through Frying Pan Shoals and the Cape Fear.