An Ode to Brown Furniture?

Is brown furniture out? I first learned of this about two years ago during a tour of homes with a friend. It was casually mentioned in a whisper. It came up again last night when I was reading blog posts over at the potted boxwood.

As an aside – I just found this blog and LOVE it. She also has YouTube and Instagram accounts.

When this was first mentioned in a whispered voice I was stunned. As a native of NC who grew up near High Point, the furniture capital, this was a stunning statement. As I look around my home and think about my parents house, I think of brown furniture. Growing up there was a plethora of family pieces. When my Mom and Dad furnished their first home, my grandfather took my Mother up to the hayloft of the family barn and asked her what pieces she wanted. The loveseat and a pair of chairs she selected grace my home today. I think of it as furniture sustainability. Furniture was handed down and cherished.

The furniture of yesterday was a work of art. It was made to last and has. My style is somewhat eclectic. I love pairing a Saarinen table with my grandmother’s china cabinet and a beautiful chandelier or an acrylic table with a camelback formal sofa. It adds interest and surprise to a room.

Today it seems like furniture is considered a disposable good. This is the weekend I always go to New York to attend the Winter Antique show. That’s not happening this year because of COVID but I think of all the beautiful pieces of furniture I’ve seen and wonder what we are making today. I have wonderful memories of my first home. On Saturday mornings when I was doing the house, I’d pick up my Mom and we would scour North Carolina – Thomasville, Lexington, High Point – salvage stores for furniture, textile second outlets for fabric, antique stores for everything, not to mention my Mom’s storage unit for family pieces. It was fun and I still cherish the pieces I found. I also have all of those pieces but for one that didn’t make the last move.

In an era where we champion sustainability doesn’t it seem like “brown furniture” has a place?

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 . . .

 

125CF685-DEE1-415B-AD2A-8EF016896382

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The incredible light bulb

E10CA9B7-8E41-415D-8110-3E82C7FEA615

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.

68C286BA-023B-422D-8E16-3812B48D041E

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.

D145B396-BFDB-41F8-8A37-1A806D05D37A

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?

IMG_0494

 

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.

 

IMG_0495

 

  • 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.

IMG_0500

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.

IMG_0499