Saturday, March 26, 2011

Go Green!

NO, not the environmentally friendly kind, although that's always a good idea. But the color green! I think green has always been my favorite decorating color ---- there are so many shades of it that you can achieve lots of different moods using green combined with other colors. It's striking with red, sunny with yellow, sophisticated with chocolate brown, soft with robin's egg blue, and adds a real punch to black. But using green alone can create a fresh look that will always be classic. You will notice that the designers of all of these monochromatic rooms also use a lot of white, which is a requirement to achieve that fresh, spring-y look and to dilute the intensity of the citrus-y color.

Using stripes and cane/fretwork together takes some daring, but works because of the simplified color scheme.

The bright green door at the end of this hallway is a crisp accent breaking up all of the white walls. (Note the Dash and Albert runner, which we have available to special order!)

The grouping of nine prints matted in citron green gives this eating area its personality and the majority of its green!

The juxtaposition of a contemporary rug and pillows with the antique furniture creates a "special flair" in this room.

The green and white wallpaper gives this foyer personality and pizazz! (And, yes, wallpaper is still very much in!)

I love everything about this kitchen --- the ceiling papered in the check, the contrasting green island, the grouping of majolica over the range. I could move right in!!

I love that the formality of this room is tempered by the bamboo blinds at the windows. And isn't that a luscious shade of green on the walls?

The simple symmetry of this beautiful living room is an easy and effective way to create a classic, but updated look.

More Green!

In keeping with our "green theme", here are some new items in the shop in that fabulous spring color.

Shown here is a darling little green metal garden chair, a cute bunny dish sprinkled with white polka dots, and a basket and pot to match. Note the shiny-bright Easter eggs in the basket, as well as the black and green tray in the background----our best seller at our last Girls' Night Out, and now back in stock. The very life-like chartreuse orchid would dress up any end table or buffet!

Three cute pillows in shades of green --- fretwork, one with a snail, and a charming "Garden" pillow on linen

A great apple green lamp sporting a shade with horizontal stripes --- a new trend!

Hope you'll stop in soon to check out everything GREEN!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Inspiration, Imagination and Transformation

Ever wonder how we get our display ideas at the shop? Sometimes we see a picture in a magazine or decorating book that inspires us, or while on a buying or shopping trip in another town we'll see something that just speaks to us! Other times, a display comes together out of necessity -- working with whatever we have. Here's an example of a recent idea that is in the works --- we're calling it our Plaid Cabin (we always give our themes a name!!). While shopping in a quirky area of Chicago, we stumbled upon a store that was all about plaid! Plaid upholstery, plaid blankets, vintage plaid camping gear... you get the idea. That was all the Inspiration we needed to tweak the idea and make it our own little Plaid Cabin room for spring. A display idea was born, and now the fun, and the challenge begins: acquiring all the merchandise to put it together. We travel far and wide, from Ohio to Oklahoma, from Michigan to Missouri, shopping and searching high and low (literally) with this theme in mind, gathering everything we can find to make this room come alive. Then we clean it up, fix it up, spruce it up, pack it up and bring it into the shop where it all sits happily awaiting the Transformation.

In the meantime, our Imagination kicks into gear with unique ways to make this our own --- it's all in the details. For example, have you ever thought of using vintage thermos bottles as vases?? Minnow buckets as chandeliers?? Well, you will when you see our Plaid Cabin come to life. In addition to coming up with new ideas to use old things, the other key factor in designing a display is color. Every vignette has a color theme---nothing unifies a group of objects better than color. In this case, the main colors are the red and green found in the plaids with a splash of yellow to brighten up it up and make it more summery.

Our main theme for Paris Flea Market this year is Le Jardin --- The Garden (with lots of great garden antiques and vintage finds/green color theme). The Plaid Cabin and some other surprise themes will debut that Saturday as well ---- but we can't give it all away here!! We'll see you on April 9th, and hope you'll be pleasantly surprised!

written by Gwen Oldfield

Monday, March 14, 2011

French Lessons

Since our Paris Flea Market is only a little more than three weeks away, I thought it might be fun to have some French lessons! So many of our design terms and styles originated with the French......and here are some of my favorites.

Bergere: a traditional French chair, defined by an upholstered back and seat on a carved wood frame. (Marie Antoinette used them in her country house!)

Boiserie: Heavily carved and decorative paneling

Buffet a deux corp: A chest on chest with a recessed top and cabinet doors, usually with imposing proportions and simple decoration.

Lit d'alcove: Bed in an alcove enclosure with panels or a bed placed sideways against the wall without a canopy.

Faux Bois: Anything that is "false wood"....this may be a painted finish, a fabric that looks wood-grained, or a piece of furniture made out of stone to resemble wood.

Trompe l'oeil: A painted treatment that fools the eye

Passementerie: 17th Century word for trimmings including tassels, fringe, bullion or tiebacks

Radassiere: A French banquette or bench with rush seat meant for 3-4 people, and often placed near the fireplace

Toile de Jouy: A repeated pattern depicting complex scenes -- often pastoral. Of French origin from the late 18th century and literally translated as "cloth from Jouy" -- a town in North Central France

The French certainly believe in "l'art de bien vivre" --- the art of living well ---- as these design styles reflect!

You should be receiving your postcards in the mail soon for our Paris Flea Market - Le Jardin - to be held on Saturday, April 9, and we hope you will plan ahead to join us for this very special event (more details to follow in a later post).

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Living Rooms to Live In

A living room to live in designed by Charles Faudree

How many of you actually live in your living room?? It may be the largest room in your home, and it is probably the one you have spent the most money decorating, and yet, very often, no one actually lives there!! With the advent of the family room in the 1950's, the living room became a formal, stiff room to use only when you entertained guests. We homeowners spent all of our time in the family room. Builders and home designers tried to change that in the 1970's, combining the two rooms and creating the "great room", and yet now many people retreat to an even smaller room --- the den or study! We naturally gravitate to the most cozy, inviting room in our home. But there's no reason for that room not to be your living room! These living rooms are some of my favorites by various designers, and they all seem welcoming and cozy --- a place where you could curl up with a cup of tea and a book or the Sunday newspaper.

The room above was designed for the movie "Something's Gotta Give" (one of my very favorites), and the room below was designed for the movie "The Holiday" (also a wonderful movie with beautiful English scenery), both directed by Nancy Meyer. These rooms are so cozy!

There are certain elements that naturally add that inviting ambiance to your living room:
  • Books --- in bookshelves, on coffee tables, in baskets
  • Throws -- casually thrown over the back of a chair or folded over an ottoman
  • Family photographs -- framed in various sizes on end tables or in bookshelves
  • Something from nature -- plants or cut flowers or bowls of fruit
  • Good lighting -- not overhead, but with an adequate number of lamps
  • Cushy throw pillows -- decorative, as well as comfortable
  • A table within reach of every chair/sofa -- for a glass, book, or cup of tea
  • Personal treasures -- something that makes it uniquely you
  • A clock -- not only useful, but the ticking creates a soothing "heart of your home" sound
  • A fire in the fireplace or candles-- keep the "home fires" burning
Another tip that immediately makes your living room seem cozier is to pull the furniture a little closer together. Pull that chair away from the wall, and adjacent to the sofa. Add a large ottoman for more seating, and to tighten up your furniture grouping.

A soothing living room designed by Scot Meacham Wood

A really cozy room -- note the vase of flowers, throws and throw pillows, candles, and lots of lamps--take those items away, and the room would be quite average!

Ralph Lauren's living room (one of several, I'm sure!)

A "beachy" living room designed by Barclay Butera--so soothing!

A little more formal, but still inviting, designed by Mario Buatta

And my own living room (where, after writing this article, and taking my own advice, I sat and read the Sunday paper!!)

This coming weekend (Friday, March 11 and Saturday, March 12) is our 36th Anniversary Sale, so it will be a great time to purchase a throw, some pillows, or a new lamp to make your living room just a little bit cozier. Everything (excluding antiques and clearance items) will be 20% off, and we have lots of new merchandise. We hope to see you then! And don't forget to live in your living room!!