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Home Sweet Home

Home Again….

Well, after 6 weeks away…..we decided to come home over the weekend. 

If you have been following my blog since the beginning you may remember that my mom has been battling cancer since 2008.  She has dealt with it spreading to the lungs and then the brain back in 2010…..she had surgery the week Harry was born and STILL made it to the hospital for his birth.  She is amazing to say the least.  Well, after surgeries, radiation, chemo, etc. she has finally decided that she has done all she can do to fight this.  So, she is using her time to spend with family and friends and enjoy life.  She really is a true inspiration and the weeks I spent in Virginia with her were precious…..and we’ll likely go back as much as we can (and as much as my parents will allow as it was quite “energetic” around the house with my two kiddos in tow) in the months ahead.

Thanks to all of you who flooded my inbox with emails and words of support.  Even when I didn’t have the time to personally respond, I appreciated your words and thought more than you know.  Please bear with me as I get myself back up to speed here at home.  Stacks of mail, appointments with my web designer, overdue trips to the design center for VERY patient clients, etc. and I am feeling slightly overwhelmed.  I am hoping that I’ll be back to “normal” by the weekend and will start real blogging again.

Until then, I am going to try to list some new fabrics I got in and focus on the behind the scenes of my business as I am in the middle of changing some things around here.  And, of course, I plan enjoy these last weeks of summer with my kiddos who are number one in my book!

I’ll be back soon!

Bookshelves Complete, For Now….

On Monday I showed you the pitiful shape of the built ins in our family room

Well, that was then and this is now.

I pretty much used whatever we had around the house.  My husband scratched his head as I removed all of the covers from his extensive collection of World War II novels.  My books, I am afraid are not of the bookshelf variety!  I broke a couple of rules too, can you tell?

View from the left….

View from the right….

I’ve got fake peonies mixed in….and I know people feel strongly about this….but I love mine and I can sleep at night I assure you.   I also ran out of appropriately sized books and had to throw in a few paperbacks.  What are you going to do?

The only “new” items on the shelves are a few new moss balls I whipped up with supplies I had on hand from a previous project.


So, for now at least I feel like we can have friends over for dinner this weekend and not be completely mortified at the state of the shelves.  Now on to the living room which has another set of built-ins backed with a not so hot (or professionally done) red paint job!

Oh and P.S. to my husband if you are reading…..this is why I really need that new camera for my birthday!

Bookshelf Styling….

I have mentioned that we plan to do some remodeling to the downstairs of our 80+ year old home.  So, I do not want to do a lot of decorating in advance of what is sure to include a fair bit of demolition.  But, we like to entertain and have a few things on the schedule in the next month and I really do not want our guests to see this….

The Maddie G Family Room 

I thought posting this pitiful image with a promise of “after” shots might hold me to finding an interim style to tide us over until we have more permanent decor in place.  Here are a few inspirational images I’ve found while searching online.

 Cottage and Vine

In the image from Cottage and Vine, I love the texture provided by the grasscloth.  I also really like the mix of elements from the natural basket to the white ceramic and the glass.  The shelves look well done but not overdone!

Tobi Fairley

I love the color in the back of these bookshelves and the use of family photos interspersed.  I know we are not supposed to overdo it with photos in the home….but I do love a photo to bring a personal touch into a space.

Sally Steponkus

In the room by Sally Steponkus above, I love that she actually used books to fill the shelves!  And, I love how many of the red bindings subtly coordinate with the chairs in the forground.

Jay Jeffers

More color in the background and careful editing.  Notice the way the books are stacked in the bottom left.  I like the creative placement of the books vs. just lining them up on the shelf.

Finally, for even more inspiration and some “Do’s and Don’ts” hop on over to Dwellers without Decorators who had bookshelf styling on her mind last week as well.

Stay tuned, I vow to do something with my bookshelves this week.


Why do we decorate?????

Yesterday afternoon I was tired.  Maddie was too after a big morning of her first ever “ballet” class.  Finally, around 5pm I decided to wake her from her long afternoon nap, lest she decide not to go to bed at a reasonable hour!

In any case, it was raining outside and perhaps I had the air set a little too low because it almost felt like a cold fall day inside the house.  Feeling lazy, I opened the shades in her room, turned up her chandelier a tad and sank into her glider until she was ready to get up.  It took less than a minute before she was rubbing her eyes and asking for a story.

We’ve got a wire basket on the floor full of stories…and Maddie took what felt like an hour going through them all picking just the right story that she was going to “read to mommy.”  As I curled up in the glider tucked into a blanket that had been sent from her Grandma in Australia it hit me how special this room is to us and our family.

Photo Credit:  Mouse on House for our MLS Listing.

It wasn’t decorated with any one’s tastes in mind but our own.  I know the trend in nurseries these days is tilted towards more adult-like spaces and this room certainly doesn’t fit that bill.  I know some think large monograms in nurseries are overdone…..but I really don’t care.  There isn’t one thing about this room I’d change, except perhaps to be able to stay here longer and keep my little girl this fun little age forever.

Photo Credit:  Mouse on House for our MLS Listing.

Her new favorite book is from the Madeline series and it was fun the other night to finally see the recognition on her face, as she realized that some of the pictures in the book we were reading were up on her wall.

Now, when we get to the various scenes in her book she’ll strain around to look at the pages from within that I’ve got framed on the wall.  Every element in this room brings back a memory….from me at work late one night trying to enlarge the Madeline pages just so, to my sister running around finding the frames, to my mom making the crib bumper after having just undergone major surgery and enduring radiation (talk about being special–I am pretty sure my Dad even helped her on that bumper), to my sister and husband hanging the monogram….and sheepishly come to tell me it might not be centered where I wanted it.  Oh well, do you think Maddie cares?

In any case, each time I actually take the time to relax in this room with my daughter (vs. rushing to get through a story so I can get her down and myself back to the next item on my “to do” list) I am reminded of why we really decorate our homes.  It isn’t (at least for me) about having a photo for a blog post or a room that people will envy (not that these things are bad).  But rather, it is to create a home that is our family’s respite from the hustle and bustle of everything else going on outside our front door.

It seems intuitive why we would spend so much time and effort on our homes.  But, sometimes I wonder if we lose sight?  It is special times like the hour or so Maddie and I played in her room yesterday afternoon that remind me of why creating a home is so special.  Having a home that reflects our style as a family helps us to be able to relax and focus on our family which is, afterall, the most important aspect of our life.

With that, have a great weekend and enjoy your family time!

Living Room….

I’ve already let you know that all decorating in our home has ceased due to our impending move.  In fact, our house lists the Thursday after Labor Day (need a new home in Northern Virginia anyone?).  My living room really never got too far off the ground.  I managed to paint,  do grass shades and drapes and a sofa.  But, that is where it all stopped. 

I had intended to do a glass top/metal base cocktail table with some patina and some appropriate end tables and lamps……but never got around to it.  This is, by far, the least used room in our home.

Recall, I had been working on a custom rug for the space but just couldn’t get motivated to sit down and review the artist’s renderings and select my colors (maybe this should have told me something).  And then, once I learned we were moving, I decided to go with seagrass instead….far cheaper and sure to be used somewhere in our new home.

And then, I finally settled on a wool rug to get the natural look but to achieve a better sense of comfort….in case I want to use it in Maddie’s room or a more family friendly space in the new home.  Several weeks ago I picked up our new rug.  I think it looks quite nice in this room….rather understated and subdued.


If the rug were going to stay in this room, I’d have had it made larger.  But, I wanted maximum flexibility for its new home.  The oversized slipper chairs (and probably both end tables) will be on Craigslist soon–like the day our house goes under contract.  The chairs, I had to have these while visiting Dallas, of all places, about 9 years ago….and never liked them once they were delivered.  Not sure why.  The coffee table is a hand me down from when my parents had a place in FL…..It doesn’t fit in this space but it cannot be all bad.  I had a woman in my home recently purchasing a mirror I’d sold on Craigslist and she asked me to call her if I decide to sell it!

Here is another view of the room.  I love the fabric (Suzanne Rheinstein for Lee Jofa- “Folie Chinoise”) and how it looks with the Conrad shades.

Speaking of hand me downs from my mom.  I LOVE this lamp…..and am seriously lobbying her to allow me to take it to Dallas with me.  I think it looks so great with my drapes and the color of the sofa!  Mom, are you reading?

I hope you have a great weekend.  My husband has been in four states for work this week….and got home last night.  I am looking forward to some serious family time (mixed in with two toddler birthday parties)!  Cannot wait!

Nursery Starting Point

It was a whirlwind weekend as I’ve been in Dallas since Thursday visiting preschools and house-hunting.  What an exhausting process but thankfully we made some progress in narrowing down our search to a few neighborhoods.  And, we have a great realtor so I now feel confident we’ll find a house we love in a great neighborhood….and am thankful we have the time to wait for the perfect place for us!  (And, Mom and Amy if you are reading….THANKS again to you both and Dad for watching Maddie for 4 days!!!!!!  I know she is a handful!)

Anyways, I came home to stacks of mail and in it was the sample of the wallpaper I want to use in our baby’s nursery.  I sampled three colorways, but I am pretty sure this one will be the go….

The color in the image above is way off on my monitor.  The background reads an olive color here…..but the background on the actual paper is MUCH lighter.  In fact, it is almost a dark cream/very light beige.  I love it! 

This paper is by Julia Rothman for Hygge & West.  It was designed in Brooklyn, NY and screen printed in Chicago, IL.  And, it is printed on high quality paper manufactured in the US.

I’ve got to thank the blog world, specifically Urban Grace,  for the introducing me to this paper.  Designer Laurie Rhoney used this paper in her daughter’s nursery and it was featured on the Urban Grace blog.  This picture has been in my inspiration files ever since.

What do you think?  I just think it is so sweet used on a nursery ceiling.  This paper is my jumping off point, and I will share the various elements as I make progress.  My goal is to have everything ready to go so the room can be put together as soon as we make the big move! 



My Formal Living Room….

When I started this blog I intended to post heavily on the design of my own home.  But, an impending move across the country has really put a halt on decorating.  So, you’ll likely have to wait until early 2011 for me to start decorating a new home.  Our house hunting begins next week but we won’t be moving until after baby #2 arrives in October. 

In any case,  I want my house to look nice when we list it….but I do not want to put any measurable money into new purchases….as I have no idea if they will fit in in our new home, which I am hoping to downsize.

To date, I’ve done pinch pleated panels in Suzanne Rheinstein’s Fall Chinoise (in Rose).  See the swatch below.

photo credit Philip Friedman/Studio D

My windows are covered with Conrad Shades in Sandbar (1828).

And then, to pull the cranberry color out of the drapes I had a sofa made with a cranberry silk.  Here is a picture that shows the sofa with one of the windows in the background.  The simple pewter hardware is by Robert Allen.  I did a post on their “cufflink collection” hardware here

One of the things that is visibly lacking in this room is a rug.  I had every intention of having a custom reproduction of an antique rug made for this space.  (In fact, I talked about the process…or lack thereof…..here.)  And, down the road…I still might.  But, boy am I glad at the moment that I did not drop the money for a 9×12 custom rug….only to potentially find that it will not fit in our new home.

Last night, I was searching design sites like I tend to do, and I found a blurb by Suzanne Rheinstein on how she envisioned the Fall Chiniose fabric to be used.  She felt using the fabric for window treatments and a chair would suffice….and suggested a seagrass rug for a fresh and young space.  Wow, why didn’t I think of that?  A 9×12 seagrass rug I can handle at the moment….and if I decide not to use in a living room in the new home (I plan to use the fabric for new window treatments….I love it and, after all…what else would this couch go with?) I can use it in a bedroom or just about anywhere.

So, I called my local carpet trade showroom and have some options all well below $500.  Just need to check out samples and place my order.

For once, I am glad I procrastinated.  And, I am actually excited to see the room take on a little less formal direction.  Now if I could find a way to make the chairs and coffee table currently in the room look like they fit with the space….I’d be all set.

What do you think of my new direction?

Robert Allen Drapery Hardware

When I think of Robert Allen, I think fabric.  But, they sell drapery hardware and furniture as well.  I’ve recently used their drapery hardware and was very pleased.  So, I thought I would share.

Their metal rods come in three finishes.

They offer two ring styles.


And, in this “Cufflinks Collection” they offer a range of cufflinks, which serve as end caps and as a center cap for larger (longer) installations. 

I ended up using the pewter rods with matching “button rosette” cufflinks in both my living and dining rooms, respectively.



I really like how delicate these rods look, with just the simple cufflink details.  The product is well made and reasonably priced.  To see the full range of Robert Allen drapery hardware, including downloadable tearsheets, go here.  For more information or for pricing, feel free to contact me.

Dining Room Progress……

Thought I would share a quick photo of the progress on my dining room.  I absolutely love the rug and chandelier.  I promise to share more photos when the room is properly accessorized, etc.  But, for now I am happy.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.  Be safe!

Dining Room Chandelier Preview

I have to apologize for the lack of timely and substantive posts around here this week.  We have had a lot going on in our world.  I’ve been simultaneously battling a sinus cold and some never-ending nausea while trying to keep on top of work and home…..it’s been a bit much.

But, anyway.  I have something to look forward to.  Last summer, I stumbled upon the below picture on a little blog (and I am extremely sorry I cannot remember the blog….) kept by a gift store owner.  She had customized the below chandelier to match the paint color on her dining room walls.

Something about this whimsical chandelier spoke to me.  So, I ordered my own.  My dining room walls are painted Benjamin Moore Wedgewood Gray on the walls and Navajo White on the chair rail and all molding.  On my chandelier, the branches will be a pewter color, the flowers a cranberry color and the birds’ feathers, painted to match my walls.

I’ll admit the process has been a long one.  The chandelier arrived in February with the wrong color glass.  I was freaking out until I found my samples and realized it was not my mistake.  The blue is the tiny center of the flower…it matches the walls.

The showroom sent a picture last week to confirm the new crystal colors.  Much better…..

And, here is a sneak peak of the birds, painted Wedgewood Gray.

The UPS truck is due in this afternoon with my chandelier.  My dining room rug is to be delivered and spread next week.  I am so excited to see this room finally come together.  I will not lie, this chandelier  is a bit out there for me.  I rarely question my decisions….but until this chandelier is hung and in place, I do not think I’ll exhale fully.

I had better love it….or else Maddie will need a bigger room to house her new chandelier! I’ll be sure to post pictures once it is hung!

In the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!