Formal dining room furniture need not be banished to the thrift shop--it just needs an occasional update! Read on to see how we went from drab to fab in a recent project.
What this blog IS:
- It's me just throwing some ideas or thoughts out there - sometimes I'm in a teaching mood and sometimes I just want to share a little piece of my day.
- It's a collection of pictures, taken with my iPhone. Imagine me (see photo above) wandering around my home or office, dust cloth in hand, setting up little vignettes to illustrate the topic of the day. Sometimes I venture into the yard, sometimes they're pics from projects, vacations or shopping trips.
- It's created in a totally ethical, sustainable and fair-trade sort of way. Seems like a no-brainer, but there are other ways to create a blog post and you see them every day. Which leads me to:
What it's NOT:
- It's not a place where you will hear about the virtues of spending big money on "curated," "bespoke," or "innovative" items when they are none of those things. I'm not into stuff. I'm into life and creating rooms that make life very pleasant. I'm not into pretending. I'm into reality--life is messy and I design with ease of maintenance in mind.
- It's not a candy store filled with professional photos grabbed off the internet. While I would love to use those fab photos, it requires obtaining written permission for every single one. Who has time for that? It's so much harder to write a blog without those gorgeous pictures that I did not take myself, but it's ethical and fair.
- It's not a monetized blog, although I might head in that direction some day. I'm not here to sell you anything, but I see no harm in monetized blogs.
So it's not a fancy design blog. I do just fine by being myself (although maybe at the next photo shoot adding a necklace to my outfit wouldn't hurt). I'm a formally trained and experienced interior designer and I dabble in blogging.
Welcome to my dabble!
Last weekend was great at Casa DeCocco. The days are getting longer, the sun was out in full force and temps were in the 60's. I spent a little time in the garden! In February!
My favorite accomplishment was getting some new artwork framed and up on the walls. I'd rather have new art than new furniture, any day. What you put on your shelves and hang on your walls makes it your home. And it has nothing to do with provenance or monetary value. Wait, I take that back. Provenance is everything. Where you got it, who created it and why you display it tells the story of your life.
The endless supply of original art that kids bring home from school is a favorite source. Grandboy did this one. Obviously in the style of Picasso, in his cubist period (his art teacher is brilliant--exploring all the greats). For DIY framing, I buy the needed materials at Michael's--on sale or with a coupon, of course!
This is where I hung it - at the top of the stairs. When you come in the front door and look up, there it is. Made Grandboy very proud to see it there (score for this Mimi).
Then this amazing photograph, taken by Jim Fenton, arrived yesterday -- a birthday gift from a childhood friend. I dropped what I was doing and headed right out to get a frame for it!
I used a craft store frame and "glass," but since it's hung in a hallway with no natural light hitting it, it should be safe from fading. If it gets moved to a room with windows, I'll take it to the framer.
Not to be a snoot, but there are two kinds of important art. Above is the perfect example. The piece on the left is an oil on paper by Gary Bowling. He's an established artist and I paid real money for this beauty and to have it professionally framed--including using museum quality glass so that it's protected from the sun. The piece on the right was created, again, by Grandboy in celebration of Dias De Los Muertos. The camera cannot catch the sparkly glitter and vibrant markers used to create that skull, but I feel both are safe under the craft store frame with cheap glass. Both pieces are important, both are framed, both look great. But Mr. Glitter will fade over the years because Mr. Sunshine visits frequently.
I look for original art everywhere I go. This was found at Grandaddy's Antique Mall in Burlington, NC many years ago. I paid under $100, it's just a wrapped canvas and is unsigned. That scene evokes sweet childhood memories for a lot of people (as does a piano--chopsticks anyone?).
A closer view. Love it.
Here's another example of combining the "free" art (nothing about kids is really free, is it?). The Vietri pottery fits right in with those masterpieces from art class. We used plate hangers for the pottery and good ol' wasabi tape for the paper pieces. By using the wasabi tape, I can color coordinate with the painting! Look closely at the ones on the right. You'll see the influence of Andy Warhol at the top and Vincent Van Gogh on the bottom. Not sure about the influences of the flying baseball in the middle.
These sweet faces are in the Living Room, reminding us all not to take life too seriously. Raleigh artist Ana Peralta paints all kinds of subjects, but her animals (and her colors) are my favorites.
There are many other works hanging around the house, but we all need to get back to work. I created a Houzz Project folder based on this post, with lots of additonal pieces, some by artist friends. If you have friends who are artists, definitely buy their work! You can see that Houzz folder by clicking here.
Every now and then the iMovie app gets my attention and I have to make a video or two. They're not flashy nor very professional, but I have fun creating them as a way to talk to you - and isn't that the point? Yesterday I published the one that's on the Home Page (here's another chance to watch it!).
This morning I made one about accent pillows. Here it is:
I'd have to give up my day job to make these things smooth and flawless and we can't have that! Hope your week is a good one.
While I love gorgeous old (or new) china cabinets, I also adore adding permanent storage, i.e. "built-ins," to a room.
This pretty antique china cabinet has a bowed glass front, which can be a hard to find feature, but really adds to the warmth and charm. The matching dining room table and chairs were sold, but this piece will stay forever.
I also like to grab some wall space to boost the storage capacity of a room. This custom built-in spans an entire wall, but only intrudes a mere 12" into the space. And look at what it can hold!
Peek into the open cabinet doors on the right - china, crystal, candles, table accents, serving pieces, etc. And those shelves hold books and family momentos and the teacup collection (lit from above to shine down through glass shelves). All shelving on this piece are adjustable, so it's very versatile.
Losing 12" of floor space yielded a great deal of storage, adding to the function of the room. It looks good, too!
Yesterday was a good day. Ginny lives in the memory unit of a nursing home. Her loving daughter-in-law asked me to put drapery panels on the windows in her room to make it feel warmer and more like home. When Ginny was younger, she had a beautiful home, decorated with gorgeous furniture, rugs and custom window treatments.
This Robert Allen fabric was perfect - Ginny has very conservative taste, and recognized the type of pattern right away with great pleasure. We chose a butterfly pleated header. That may be a somewhat dated choice, but when working with people with memory problems, choosing recognizable details is important.
Here's Ginny's window before the drapery panels went up. She has a pretty view and sweet little friends!
Now the drapes are up. Doesn't that feel better? The curtain fabric has a touch of pink in it that you can't see in my iPhone photo. It coordinates beautifully with the Waverly fabric on the chair. Ginny remembers every detail about all the furnishings in her room. She loves decorating and color.
Like I said. A good day.