Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Now, I must build stone edging under my cascading curved swaths of Japanese Forest Grass, which when it grows up will look like this from Heronswood:
It's not as full and lush yet, but it's getting there. And it needs a low bank of stone under it to support it and set it aside from the grass. See, Heronswood thought so too.
And, after two years, I can't believe that all I have to do is drive down to the Schwake showroom and find the stone I want, like one of these:
So coming soon, a photo not from the Internet but from my own garden of Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' spilling over a low edging of dry-stacked thin stone.
Thus, researching Flor. Ever got a problem, rip some squares up and replace them. Sounds like a plan to me.
This also means, after you're done designing your own shoes and your own handbag, you can design your own carpet! Oh what great fun! This is a cool design, but for us, in a different colorway:
Here it is in somebody's home:
Another nice customer example on the Flor website. Obviously, I am drawn to samples where it's not just a grid of squares:
I've ordered a bunch of samples, and will be playing with our basement's dimensions in the Configurator until the wee hours.Overhaul #2: Banish oak tones from the basement. Wanna know how I feel about oak? The basement has custom-built oak shelves along one wall, and a matching entertainment center on another. They're quality, they're sturdy, they're very much needed and used. But they're oak. And very middle-of-the-road traditional. The basement is going to be my design studio and I must be surrounded by something inspirational, not traditional.
Something like this from the Sundance catalog is more to my liking there:
Thus some painting and distressing will be happening in the near future to approximate this look.
Wow looking at all this, it doesn't feel so hip to be with so many squares ... all the photos kinda hurt my eyes here, but it won't be like this in the basement. It has lengthy rectangular shelves and I'm thinking of installing the carpet in a diagonal to draw your eye toward the other end when you walk in.
Here's an alternative for the floor ... stripes:
While I'm inspired by the Flor rug idea here, I could never ever ever go in this room. Why? See that stack of books? Aren't you tempted to ... just ... with one finger ... puuuuuuuuuushhhhhhh ... heh heh heh ... can't stop looking at it. Obsessed, I say, obsessed.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Same style, different design:One more so we have an odd number of photos (sounded like good reason to me):
See? You could spend all day and night playing with patterns and colors. Have fun!
Even safety pins, how cool is this:
You can change the ribbon color every day if you want!
Love love love. And as a hobby seamstress, I have a healthy stash of cool ribbons. Although I don't have any LFN Textiles ribbons yet, I've always loved the innovative designs ... tomatoes, pears, chocolate cakes, poppies and alliums, even knitting instructions:
On my shoes, I could see leopard or zebra grosgrain ribbon, ribbon with stitched accents, delicate sheer silk ribbon, embroidered and beaded ribbons ... I see a feverish search for unique vintage ribbons in my future. For new ribbons, buckles and other embellishments, MJ Trim is a great source.
So how do you get a $278 shoe purchase past a husband, especially when it's not even a complete shoe? Can you imagine explaining this one? Men just wouldn't get it. May be moot obsession anyway ... it's not available right now in 6.5, my size.
Oh, but ah, never give up! It's hard to remember life before Google, yeah? Here they are from Mohop the manufacturer, lots of low and high heel styles, wedges and flats. Oh so tempting. And handcrafted in Chicago, too. See a whole gallery of ribbon ideas! See how customers have used ribbons -- some used crochet ribbons, vintage ribbons, stones, buckles ... so creative and visually interesting. My new life goal is to get posted here!
But how to acquire, how to acquire ... there is the jar of spare change. It tends to add up fast ...
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
... below the lower half of our sunroom structure, below the windows.
Or, salmon/beige/gray old Chicago brick to match the brick accents on the front of our house. Hmmmmmm. Obsessing. More later ...
Which leads to the ideas in the back of my mind to transform the cabinets into a warm buttery ivory, perhaps, with darker antiqued streaks in the cracks and on the edges. But I don't know. It's a big commitment. Not something to jump into impulsively, as I'm likely to do. This Old House does tell you how to paint the cabinets.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
The round table in brass is the perfect solution. But I just didn't want to pay the price. Maybe it never went on sale enough. We have a fireplace set and a floor-standing library lamp in brushed brass from Restoration Hardware in the family room, but both were bought at bargain prices, which is the way I like to get the look.
Ballard Designs has the table too. Hmmmm. At least they DID. Can't find now. Anyway, it looked like the pic above, you get the idea.
Then Mrs. Limestone posted an option with a $35 (!!!!!!) price too good to pass up, from Alsto. While she did warn that it's not brass but a painted version, I didn't care. My house is filled with quality everything and not everything has to be the ultimate version. Here it is:
The smaller side table I got is no longer available but you can still have the lower coffee table. The table was a good pick -- we use it nearly every time we're in the family room. A good indication that it's not just a want, but more like a need.
Of course while surfing Alsto.com, I found the perfect solution to fill a blank space on our mantel that was crying to be filled with the current trend of a shabby chic clock. I had found many $250 versions that I wanted that were quality, heavy and three-dimensional. The one I got has an image silkscreened on what seems like MDF, but it's the right colors, the right look, and the hands move on time so it does the job, for $29.99! It also fits our travel theme with the "Grand Hotel" motif:
Of course I can't surf anywhere, even to fill in the pics and links here, without finding something new and perfect to obsess about. So I present the newest object of my obsessions
Our family room already has sconces from the previous owners of our house, and they do their job quite well. But this room is full of rich black and red and gold ... and well, wouldn't these red leather sconces be so much better! They will need to remain an obsession in my mind for now ...
The "India Desk." Someone usually has a laptop with them while we're in the living room, and this would be a great space to park the laptop on a place other than a lap, and hang out with those sitting on the chairs or couches.
Unfortunately, a search shows Room & Board no longer carries our Retrospect sofa and chairs. Retrospect was a more traditional line at R&B that we loved and we furnished two rooms with pieces from it. The patterned fabrics were rich and uncommon -- we chose deep orange and red patterns in addition to brown and black leathers. The feet are cute -- I think I might have chosen our couches for their feet! Though now having two cats who are not declawed, but well-behaved, the leather was not the most practical choice. We copied how Retrospect showcased their furniture mixed with Asian pieces, due to our travels and collections of pieces made for us "cheap cheap cheap" in Asia. I most appreciated how the chairs arrived with overstuffed down, and now four years later the cushions have compressed to a normal cushion height. At least we know we won't get dreaded butt impressions on these cushions for quite awhile. Oh how I miss Retrospect.
My next post should showcase pieces from the living room that we love, not because they are objects acquired which would be really superficial, but because each has a story and reminds us of travels.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
It'll Cost Nothing to Dream & Everything Not To -- Saw it in Z Gallerie at the mall. Perfect for our sunroom wall! As it has only one solid wall (the rest, windows) and it is completely undecorated. It is begging for something inspiring on summer days spent out there:
Why??? Because on most of my trips, I've collected dirt.
Bear with me here. There is a connection. I have dirt of all colors -- sage green and grainy from the Continental Divide in New Mexico and deep red and sandy from the Turqoise Trail in New Mexico. I scooped dirt at the base of a grapevine at the Cennatoio winery in Tuscany as a remembrance of one of my favorite chianti classicos and vin santos. I took sand from the beach in Chennai, India. Who knows the source of that sand as it was collected after The Tsunami. It has joined a bottle of sand from a less exotic place, Daytona Beach in Florida. I scraped dirt from a well-trodden spot for picture-taking outside Angkor Wat in Cambodia, near the moat. Sometimes when traveling, I forget about my dirt-collecting habit. I forget to pack something to keep the dirt. This happened at Angkor Wat. How can I visit there, a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and not come back with physical evidence? I felt panic rise and was ready to just dump sand in a pocket of my shorts and worry about it later. Then, I turn around, and there on the ground before me is a plastic film cannister. Right there. It was like someone put it there for me just before I turned around. Maybe someone did. In these digital days, how often do you find film cannisters anymore? So I scraped the dry dirt nearby, too trodden with tourists to have any sacred Angkor remnants. But, dusk was falling and we couldn't go back into the temple. I'm not sure I should have taken dirt from within there anyway.
So why am I talking dirt? The dirt is in a cabinet in a hodge-podge of containers, some the original makeshift containers I used on vacation. I want to display the dirt in the test tubes. With vintage-style labels. Surely there are appropriate label supplies in the scrapbook paper collection I'm building at a ridiculously and dangerously fast pace. I always envisioned the dirt in a Dean & Deluca style test tube spice rack and it would make an interesting contrast:
The final coveted thing that COULD and SHOULD be near the kitchen is this wall hung wine bottle opener, seen at NapaStyle catalog:
I almost hit the "buy" trigger numerous times. But couldn't bring myself to pay the price. A few months ago, we were walking through the village of Panzano in Tuscany, through an outdoor market. An antiques vendor had nearly this exact wall-mounted bottle opener for 35 Euro. I wanted wanted wanted it. Hubby, not so much. We left it to instead enjoy one of the best 2.5-hour lunches ever under the spreading branches of a fig tree, overlooking the Tuscan countryside. During that time, someone else took my wall-mounted bottle opener home. How could they?!? The rest of our vacation was spent inquiring about wall-mounted bottle openers in various establishments. Nothing. No more. I know I can always get it at NapaStyle. But it could have been had for 35 Euro. So, I hold out, but for what ...
Friday, July 11, 2008
Here, I gather my favorite sources of online visual obsession. And I will share snippets with you from real-life travels to other lands, online virtual journeys, and creations of my own. I find these things brighten the days and make the stresses of the world recede to a back corner for a little while.
As the first source of inspiration here, a blog of beautiful handmade cards. Years ago I made my own cards and acquired quite the collection of unique cards made by others, many still in a Card Box which now has the smell of a great aunt's basement. Somewhere, I lost the way. Meanwhile others have built great talents, such as that on this site. Check it out. I love the aesthetic at this blog. Clean, and layered with just enough restraint. I could surf it until 3 a.m., see everything.
But, no, I must be responsible; I am at a professional conference and must meet a colleague for breakfast early in the morning. Visual obsession must meet balance. Balance, meet visual obsession. These two aren't at peace yet!