Thursday, July 24, 2014

Before And After: A Family Room Update

 This family room gets a lot of wear and tear.  It is comfy and lived in, but in need of an update.

Since I was the design consultant for this room ten years ago, I was happy to recently take on this project to freshen it up for my clients.
The first thing we decided to do:  paint the brick fireplace and add a mantel.
 The walls are beautifully paneled in tongue and groove.  A lighter, neutral coat of paint was in order, replacing the heavy gold color.

We decided to replace the slipcovered sofa and chairs too.
They wanted comfort, but also to be able to seat more guests.
I suggested a sofa and a loveseat combination with a club chair as an accent.

The wall to wall carpeting needed updating.  I wanted them to replace it with seagrass.
See the sample on the floor?

 It's a beautiful, high quality sea grass in a taupe color.  Very soft!

Here's the new white fireplace with its new mantel.
Notice the paneling with the new off-white coat of paint?  It made the fireplace really pop!

Here's an after photo of the finished room with its new linen sofa and loveseat and a leather chair.

I suggested an animal hide rug, but was secretly envisioning a zebra rug.
To my surprise, my clients loved the idea, as long as it wasn't an actual zebra with a head and tail!
This rug is a stenciled cowhide that they found on eBay!

The floral oil painting over the sofa was replaced with a series of vintage photos depicting San Francisco.
The lamps were also updated.

I re-styled the bookcase for a more cohesive, updated look.

I have to say, I love the new look!
It's their go-to, put your feet up and be comfortable room.
Now that this room is finished, the plan is to update their living room next.
"Give a mouse a cookie....."

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tuesday Inspiration: Living Room Lighting

There's a living room in my future with a cathedral ceiling.
It is screaming for a huge chandelier, don't you think?

 I'm looking for inspiration and this is my first choice.
It's the Pauline Chandelier from Aiden Gray and is a grand 51" in diameter.

I also like the Italian Wedding Chandelier, also from Aidan Gray.
It's slightly larger at 53" but lighter and airy.

There are four sconces to consider too.
I like the Nimes Sconce.

The Ferronnerie Sconce is also fun.
It's traditional with a twist.
Both sconces are Aidan Gray and available through Layla Grayce.

The chandelier in this living room looks very much like the Italian Wedding Chandelier I am considering.
I like the neutrality of this room with the white linen upholstery and brick maker's coffee table.

While I have the biggest design challenge ever, I am enjoying the process, although I feel like my head is going to explode!
I hope you hang in there with me as we embark on a whole new lifestyle and I hopefully live to blog about it!

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Succulents And A New Sofa Table

Temperatures can reach well over 100 degrees in Asti during the summer which is why succulents make so much sense.
They do better under cover like this arrangement that I planted last weekend in a rustic clay pot.

The faux rock planter also got a few new plants to freshen up.
It looks fabulous sitting on my newest find....

...this faux bois cement demi-lune table!
I found it at a thrift store for $100!
No sooner did I buy it when a nice woman approached me to say if I ever decide to sell it, she would buy it from me!  
I don't think so!
It's a perfect table behind the wicker sofa, don't you think?

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Picnic Hampers From Yesteryear

I was told when I bought these wicker flasks that they were originally part of a Victorian picnic basket.
"Think Downton Abbey," she said.
So I did a little research....

I had no idea that this is what she was talking about!
Apparently, the Victorians took their picnics seriously!
I found out that the British Company of G.W. Scott and Sons invented the picnic basket and showed it at the great exhibition of 1851.

In 1922, A.G. Scott exhibited their Coracle brand of fitted luncheon and tea baskets.
The picnic hamper above is probably a poor man's version with its zinc or tin lids and plain dishes.

This leather lined hamper is quite lovely and includes a copper tea kettle!

How proper and elegant alfresco dining would be after a trip to the country in the motor car.
I imagine little cucumber sandwiches and flasks of sherry or tea.

Honestly, if I ever found one of these picnic baskets, I would buy it immediately!
I even think I would use it.

I saved the best one for last.
It was made for a Rolls Royce and fit in the boot of the car.
It is amazing and incredibly rare.

I feel a little sad that my wicker flasks came out of a wonderful hamper like this.
I can only imagine what their original sets were like.  

Are you ready for a picnic yet?
I sure am.  With Fourth of July in just a few days, I'm thinking of hauling out my not-so-Victorian wicker picnic basket and filling it with sandwiches and rosè.
It will be perfect for watching fireworks!

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Monday, June 30, 2014

What I Found At Sonoma Country Antiques

 This butter slab obviously found its way home to my house from Sonoma Country Pine.
I mean, how could I leave it there?  It was reasonably priced and had my name written all over it!

I knew it would also be functional, holding butter of course in the refrigerator.
What is it about white ironstone with black lettering? 
It gets me every time!

 But at the counter, I spied these two wicker covered bottles and fell in love.
You know that feeling when you just love something so much that you can't leave it behind?
I also know that these bottles are rare.

The larger bottle has a sterling silver engraved cap which is just beautiful!
 I ended up putting them with a few perfume bottles on my vanity.

I have no doubt that they will be restyled many times, in the bathroom or on a bookshelf.
They're so versatile and add a wonderful texture.

The one thing I left behind and can't stop thinking about though is this faux bois planter!
It doesn't help that my friend, unbeknownst to me bought its twin a month ago.  That's right, there were a pair!  She says I have to go back and get it!
Yes, I do!

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Visit To Sonoma Country Antiques

 One of my favorite stores in the wine country, or anywhere for that matter is Sonoma Country Antiques.  Located on Highway 121 in Sonoma County, it is a treasure trove of European antiques and accessories.

I always find something here.  They offer enough reproductions along with authentic antiques to keep the prices somewhat reasonable. 

I was tempted to buy this cement faux bois container.
How cute is that squirrel?

Everything is beautifully merchandised and displayed.

Demi-johns, demi-johns and more demi-johns!

Uh, I'll take that black cabinet and everything in it, thank you!

Sonoma Country Antiques also carries Cisco, which is a line of furniture that I love.  
Most of their pieces in the store were slipcovered in a heavy, rough linen making my heart skip a beat!

 See what I mean?
My love affair with linen just got serious!

It's a look that I love.
Casual, comfortable and collected.

See something you like?
They will ship it to you, but I highly recommend a visit.
It's worth the trip!

Sonoma Country Antiques is located at 23999 Arnold Drive (Highway 121), just six miles south of the town of Sonoma.
Visit their website for more information and a virtual tour of their showroom.

Stay tuned to see what I brought home!

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Country Gifts

 Our neighbor Ron in Asti felt the need to give us a "thank you" gift.
I have to say, he outdid himself!

This box of homegrown goodies was waiting on our kitchen counter when we arrived for the weekend.

Beautiful eggs from his chickens...

...Along with a jar of honey from his very own bees too!

Even the sunflowers and apricots were from his garden!

Thank you Ron!
I can't think of a more perfect thank you gift, one that helped welcome the beginning of summer too!
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