Friday, October 24, 2014

DIY It: Making a gorgeous lawn ornament for the holidays

My friend, children's book author and illustrator Brian Lies, is sharing with us a great project he did last year that turned into this gorgeous, huge, yard ornament for the holiday season.  Brian is a very handy guy and there's not much he can't MacGyver.

Usually I don't post holiday - meaning Christmas-ish - topics this early in the season (hello Halloween!) but if this is something you'd like to try, you're going to want to collect your materials now while doing your Fall yard cleanup. (Question - do those in warm climates have Fall yard cleanups to do?). In any event, Brian - take it away:

I was trimming an overgrown wisteria vine at the corner of our garage and thinking about how many yards of vine material I was pulling away, and wondering if there was anything I could do with it all.  So, I took an exercise ball and began to wind the wisteria around it, holding the overlaps together with florist’s wire. [Note: if you're doing this project alone, Brian suggests pre-cutting your florist wire so it's ready as needed]  I started by dividing the ball into quadrants, then going 45 degrees off of those quadrants until I had divided the ball in to triangles:

Then I deflated and removed the ball:

And I had an orb made from vines.

Seems like most people have a string or two of unused Christmas lights around, and I wound several strings around the vines, attaching the strings with florist’s wire as I went.  When I was done, I had a lighted orb—nearly three feet across—which we placed in our front yard, and moved around every few days.  The good thing is that the orb is still in great shape after a year in the garage—the vines dried out into their now spherical shape.  As long as I don’t crush it, we’ll have it to use for at least several years.

Isn't this just so pretty?? You could make them different sizes - as long as you had different sized inflatable balls to use. Thanks Brian for sharing your project and instructions with us.

Brian's latest book, Bats in the Band (A Bat Book), has just been released. It's filled with fantastic illustrations and a wonderful text that is entertaining for little kids and grownups alike. I will make a great holiday gift for a little one in your life and you won't mind reading it over and over and over again!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Oscar de la Renta - Fashions for Home

Sad news this week of the passing of iconic fashion designer Oscar de la Renta at 82. I was actually surprised he wasn't older. The word "icon" is so overused today as much as words like "hero" and  and "diva", to the point where they don't really mean much anymore. We have lots of celebrities and fashionistas, but not that many true fashion icons. When one reaches true icon status, it's hard to imagine they ever weren't here.

After all, there was this:

And so many others, right up to the end:

And of course, his interests included the home with pieces that were both of the moment and timeless.

Moroccan side table for Century Furniture

Side chairs for Century Furniture

Here's to you Mr. de la Renta. Thanks for the beauty. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Elegant and subtle Fall Decor

I'll admit it - with the exception of Christmas (and sometimes not much then) I'm not one to do a lot of holiday or seasonal decorating. I have a friend who must have bins and bins of seasonal decorating items and she loves to get her house ready for each seasonal change as early as possible. I admire the effort and energy it takes, but it's just not my thing. And the seasonal Fall/Halloween/Thanksgiving decorating is particularly not my thing. Too orange and brown I guess. It also seems that much of it is overdone with a lot of fakey fake fake items. Maybe it's because I don't have kids... I can see the appeal if one has little kids.

I do, however, appreciate a more subtle approach to the season.

This is a beautiful long centerpiece for a Thanksgiving table, isn't it? This is from the Lauren Conrad blog (who knew?). Very pretty and can be done with twigs and leaves still available in the yard.

This mantle from the At Home with the Barker's blog is very pretty. The mirror is fantastic and the subtle color palette is a refreshing change from all the bright oranges.

Karin Lidbeck Brent (for Better Homes & Gardens) creates a simple and easy outdoor display that is bold without being overdone. Some small branches and couple of pumpkins and voila.

This centerpiece is just gorgeous. Love the subtle colors.

A simple tablescape from Dear Lillie.

This center hall table (how amazing is the center hall itself) is filled with the "bounty of the season" without being over styled.

And so, I did do a tiny bit to acknowledge the season. I added gourds to my mantle. That's it. Actually, it's hard to tell in the photo, but the little painting in the center is perfectly "fall" with her berry swathed headdress.

And, on Saturday, I saw this beauty below in an antiques shop and had to bring her home. She's now swathed in my one Hermés scarf, which is handily orange.

How do you like to decorate for fall?

Oh, btw - I was just interviewed by Floor Coverings International's blog. You can read it here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Famous Palaces depicted at Neiman Marcus' "Home for the Holidays" showrooms

Three of my favorite Boston designers were tapped to create holiday spaces based on famous castles for Neiman Marcus' "Home for the Holidays" event which kicks off their holiday season. Feels a little early, but that's the way of things these days! The event is done in conjunction with the Over My Shoulder Foundation which supports mentoring in the community. The showrooms will be open through January and are free to view. See the press release below for more info.

Gerald Pomeroy of Gerald Pomeroy Interiors in his Balmoral Castle Room 

  Versailles Renaitre created by Paula Daher of Daher Interior Design

Eric Roseff of Eric Roseff Designs stands in his Winter Palace

Photos courtesy of Robert Four

“Home for the Holidays” was unveiled Wednesday evening, October 8 at Neiman Marcus Boston kicking off the Neiman Marcus Boston Holiday season. 
The three showrooms will be on view and open to the public, free of charge from through January 31, 2015 during regular business hours in the Gift Galleries department of the famed luxury retailer located in Copley Place.  The three custom-designed rooms are each inspired by a royal residence – the Balmoral Estate in Scotland, Versailles in France, and the Winter Palace in Russia.  Each master designer – Gerald Pomeroy, Eric Roseff and Paula Daher – will mentor a junior member of their team to create the showroom – fully engaging their young partners in their design process.
Every item featured in the rooms may be purchased. During the course of the showcase’s run, the designers will host special events to speak to the design process.  The showcase culminates in January 2015, National Mentor Month, when the Over My Shoulder Foundation and Cumar Marble & Granite Fabricators will feature a mentoring recognition event open to the public and held on-site at Neiman Marcus Boston.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Big Congrats to the New England Design Hall of Fame 2014 Inductees

Shown above: Christina Oliver, Susan Stacy, Dinyar Wadia, Rosemary Porto, Tref LaFleche, Douglas Dick

Huge congrats to the 2014 inductees to the New England Design Hall of Fame. This award was created to honor the work of professionals who have made a significant imprint on residential design in New England. Their body of work represents the pinnacle of design, and their impact often goes well beyond design projects. These people are mentors, advocates, and trailblazers in their respective fields.

Douglas Dick and Treffle LaFleche, principals, LDa Architecture Interiors, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Dinyar Wadia, Wadia Associates, New Canaan, Connecticut

Jim Gauthier and Susan Stacy, Gauthier-Stacy, Boston, Massachusetts

Christina Oliver, Oliver Interiors, Newton, Massachusetts


Rosemary Porto, Poggenpohl Boston, Massachusetts

The honorees will be celebrated at an awards ceremony at the State Room in Boston on Wednesday, November 5. Tickets can purchased on the New England Home website.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Moody Blues

I don't like blue rooms. I really don't. Except when I do. (Isn't that always the way?)

Axel Vervoordt

source unknown

Source unknown

Hackett Holland

possibly Kettner's restaurant in London

Source unknown

McAlpine Booth & Ferrier Interiors

McAlpine Booth & Ferrier Interiors

Except for the Kettner's restaurant image, what all these spaces have in common is a beautiful source of light. I think that the deep tones of the rooms really highlight the windows and spills of light that come in through the windows and doors. Without that balance, such deep dark spaces might tend to become a little depressing. But these - gorgeous!