Monday, December 28, 2009

John Saladino says...

The legendary designer John Saladino said "The dining room is the last place where we have theater in our life." Hope all your holiday gatherings include lots of spectacle and magic that show your loved ones how special they all are!                                              




New Year Words of Wisdom

One of our favorite design blogs, Style Court (, has written a post about how good design never goes out of style and says"...we'll continue to have fun recycling and reinventing, and expressing ourselves with eclectic mixes...".  We couldn't have said it any better!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Glass Ornament Wreath

This is simple and fun to make- buy a styrofoam wreath base at the craft store, hot glue on some tinsel and the prettiest glass ornaments you can find. We used vintage balls, bells, pine cones, and a Santa. Have fun personalizing it by varying the sizes and colors, even matching them to your room. And the more the merrier!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Mantle: How the Pros Do It

Ever wonder how they create the tableaux in shops and windows? There are some tips to remember.
First, odd numbers create tension- note the 3 wicker bottles which anchor the composition. Next, height creates drama- here lichen covered branches in free flowing shapes bring the eye way up on the diagonal. Which brings us to the next tip: forget symmetry, which creates a static composition. Here a whimsical effect was desired, so a free hand was the key (even the garland was draped a bit off kilter.) Repeat elements to create harmony- here the pine cones  echo the woven wicker bottles. Then, contrast creates visual interest, so the white balls, snowflakes, center star, candlesticks and glitter houses play off the darker tones.  The overall arrangement has an artistic feeling that pleases and delights the eye!


Friday, December 18, 2009

White House Decorations: Use What You Have!

The theme of the holidays at the White House this year is one after our own heart: "Reflect, Rejoice, Renew." First Lady Obama said: "We decided to do something just a little different. We took about 800 ornaments left over from previous administrations, we sent them to 60 local community groups throughout the country, and asked them to decorate them to pay tribute to a favorite local landmark and then send them back to us for display here at the White House."  Simon Doonan of Barney's designed and coordinated the effort and Mill Valley florist Samantha Payne was one of 50 volunteers executing it. Payne described how ornaments from past years were reused but made new by covering them with magnolia leaf, and how pine cones from past holidays were repainted with an antique-gold finish. The decorations also included natural materials from the White House kitchen garden such as flowers, berries and dried roots. We applaud all their efforts! 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Mantle: Branching Out







Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Natural Christmas at the Ralph Lauren Mansion New York City

We're always talking about using natural elements in your decor throughout the year, and this of course is THE season to use nature to her full advantage in your home.  This is how it's done at the Ralph Lauren store in NYC in the Rhinelander Mansion, where innovative arrangements are everywhere:

Fresh pomegranates, thistles, pinecones and branches of berries decorate a swag which in turn, adorns a portrait draped with ribbon. Note how they hung  paintings and pictures from the bookcase - a charming way to display art.                                                            

Dried sunflowers and yarrow decorate an oversize wreath hung atop a mirror - double the impact!


The tree is dressed with fresh fruit, dried hydrangeas, pinecones, grasses and sprigs of wheat.

  And the best part - all of these natural finds can be culled from a walk in the woods or a stroll through the farmer's market...

Photos by Kit Latham for Mary Emmerling's Country magazine.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Vignettes

A gold papier mache reindeer found at a thrift shop for a few dollars makes a charming centerpiece for the Holiday table, sitting among greens and sporting a vintage ornament collar.

 A silver punch bowl filled with giant silver mercury balls, some gold plastic feathers, and glitter stars.

A flea market bust adorned with glitter fruit and a wreath of gold berries.

A tray of vintage glass ornaments sets the stage for a statue draped in strands of pearls. Pink glass hurricanes hold candles and accent the pastel colors.

A statue also graces this composition of oyster shells and antlers mixed with pine cones and ornaments.

Icy colored wrappings with snowball pom poms highlight a pale blue and silver Christmas theme, along with pale, glittery mitten stockings.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Mantle: The New Victorian

Our version of "Ye Olde Curiousity Shoppe": click to enlarge any of the photos above to find objects found  around the house or in a secondhand shop (old lantern, leather bound books, vintage camera, old pair of binoculars, painted  teacups and crystal ball on a stand.) They're set off by the layered contemporary mirror and old portrait in black frames and black candles in old sconces. Mixed in are some pine cones, gold balls, brass horns and  decorative cards and books in an old black tin. The greens were clipped from some evergreens in the yard, and the glittery fruit found in a thrift shop for $2....

Make up a story and have fun telling it through your decorating!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Don't Throw Out Those Pumpkins!

Since our motto is "use what you have", we hate to be wasteful after Thanksgiving and get rid of our  pumpkins just because they're orange and don't work with traditional winter holiday colors. So we spray painted them gold,  used them on our Thanksgiving table with other fall decorations:

and then transitioned them into our holiday mantle, mixing them with green garland, brass candlesticks, and gold balls - festive, fun, and frugal!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wall Decor- Go For Impact!

Add personality to your walls by highlighting your collections - then create visual impact and make a bold statement by using repetition.

Hanging a wall grouping "salon style" is fun because anything goes. Try a bigger piece in the middle to ground the composition and fan it out out from there. Or use pieces all the same size that share a theme or coloring.  Paintings, prints, photos, mirrors- anything you can frame will work.  Add on to the collection whenever you like, letting it constantly evolve and don't be shy- bring it down to the floor, up to the ceiling or follow the architectural lines of the wall:


Baskets add texture, warmth and dimension to a narrow vertical space next to a fireplace. The basket on the stool becomes part of the composition and anchors it:

Plates and platters of different shapes above a sideboard in the dining room add color and charm:

The repetition of the plates here creates a focal point in a narrow space above a kitchen window:

On a kitchen wall the plates echo the round shape of the clock and add balance to the shelf: 

Antlers only used to be seen in traditional settings, where they added to the rustic hunting lodge look. Now they are very popular in all types of decor - here they are hung over contemporary black and white photographs, creating a modern classic feel:

Make a statement on your walls- treat them as your own personal canvas and make your home a true reflection of who you are!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fall Foraging

We are big fans of seasonal decorating, and especially of using elements from nature. It's a great way to add atmosphere to your home, especially around the holidays, without spending a lot of money.

Branches create a warm ambience in any room- we love their sculptural quality and their dramatic height and use them everywhere: 



 Sunflowers, succulents, dried artichokes and pods cozy up a mantle...

Dried hydrangea, eucalyptus, dried chili peppers, pine cones and cat o'nine tails add warmth to a hutch.                                      

  Kale leaves are as beautiful as flowers on the table:                                                            

And for "high" drama, draping a dining room chandelier with a branch and some ribbon creates a sensational centerpiece: 

Your imagination is the limit of what you can create....what's in YOUR yard?