Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Welcome Home No. 4 - The Stairway

There's something about a well appointed stairway that says "come hither, I have something amazing to show you".

The stairways that get me the most are the designs that are appropriate to the bones of a house.

The stairway design, if chosen correctly, will stand the test of time. 

Image Sources: Decor Pad, House Beautiful, Veranda, Handcrafted Delight, Elle Decor

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Be Inspired No. 28 - The Camel

If this guy doesn't inspire you to add some passementerie to your home design, I don't know what will. But as in everything good, please use in moderation. 

I'm inspired by the layers of a camel's "attire" that can be applied in designing a room. 

Let's start with the saddle. What a great footstool it makes, as well as a great conversation piece.I found one a few years ago that is tucked under my living room cocktail table and pulled out when needed. I've left it in its found state with the worn leather cushion (for now), aged brass caps, and weathered wood finish.. Here are a few images of some other camel saddles.

Love the tacks and rawhide laces!

And how fun would the sheepskin be as a throw or even an accent rug? Or even recovering the cushion on a camel saddle.

This guy knows he looks sassy!

And then the blanket patterns and tassels.  See it just doesn't stop, the inspiration is endless! Need some application ideas? How about these?

How to make an inexpensive lamp look like amazing.

Trims on pillows. Just enough. And key tassels on a drawer knob - a great finishing touch.


When a footstool makes you feel like queen for a day.

Image Sources: Vervain, Highland Court, Kravet, Squidoo, CD Travellers, Anna Banana, Live Auctioneers, Sketch42, Amber Interior Design

Monday, February 27, 2012

Rethinking the Look of Things No. 21 - Quest for Quiet

There is a trend towards a quest for quiet in our lives. A need for a place to hide away from the day to day bustle, where the cell phone is turned off, there are no electronics in sight, and we can capture the sense of quiet that we haven't experienced in a long time and quite frankly may have forgotten.

In this quest let's rethink the look of designing a place of quiet in our homes. Where the seating in our bedroom is not just to sit and put on our socks and shoes.

The bedroom seating is where we can steal away, whether before the start of our day or at the end of the week.

Keep in mind a mix of seating options. I love a grouping that compliments and invites a choice of relaxation depending on one's desire.

 Image Sources: Elle Decor, Southern Accents, Decor Pad, House Beautiful, Atlanta Home

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Speaking of Walls No. 5 - Wall Sconces

There is more to illuminating a room then just picking the light fixtures. The function of the room needs to be visited to assure that the mood of lighting is done just right. It's logical to consider a chandelier, lamps, and recessed lighting. But I love how wall sconces cast such a dramatic aura.

The wall sconce won't be one of the main light sources for a room, it is more a complement. Make sure you install a dimmer for this light feature as it can set different moods for a room or hallway.

When installing wall sconces use this general rule; if your ceiling height is 8' to 10' the bottom of the sconce should be approximately 60" from the floor. The top should be eye level but make certain you are not looking directly at the bulb. Add approx. 12" for every foot higher your ceiling height may be. Now you know that rules are meant to be broken - this includes this rule.  Because when hanging sconces as bedside lighting - the height should be at the same height a bedside lamp would be. Also when hanging sconces to specifically light a piece of art this rule will not apply either.

A personal pet peeve:  don't hang the sconce so that when looking at it you can see up under the shade - it is hung too high.

Wall sconces don't have to hung in pairs. A single very decorative wall sconce can stand alone quite well.

Love the play on pairs in this room setting. Pairs of chairs, pairs of ottomans, and pairs of sconces.

Bathrooms are the perfect setting for wall sconces. 

This swing arm lamp replaces a floor lamp.

Image Sources: Pottery Barn, Veranda, Global Views, Elle Decor, Decor Pad, Restoration Hardware, Architectural Digest

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Be Inspired No. 27 - Awning Stripes

I love the crisp classic look of awning stripes. They work their magic both inside and outside. My favorites are the awning stripes featuring a white with another color. 

Whether used vertically or horizontally the awning stripe defines a space like no other accent fabric.

Awnings began to appear on the fronts of American shops in the 19th century. This allowed for window shopping even on rainy days and protected window displays from fading.  

What a beautiful porch! Notice even the shadows cast through the ballister looks like awning stripe.

Image Sources: Ralph Lauren, Domino, Barclay Butera, Traditional Home, Sunbrella, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Pottery Barn, Southern Exposure

Friday, February 17, 2012

RSVP Collection No. 31 - Three-Cheese Spinach Roll Ups

Three-Cheese Spinach Roll Ups

8 fluted lasagna noodles
3 T. butter
1 red pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 c. onion, chopped
2 pkg. (10 oz. ea.) frozen spinach finely chopped, cooked, squeezed, and sauteed briefly in butter
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 c. ricotta cheese
3/4 c. parmesan cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
1/8 t. pepper
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. milk
1 c. light cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Cool in large bowl of cold water, set aside. Saute onion and red pepper with 3 T. butter until tender, about 5 minutes. 

Combine spinach, onion, red pepper, 1 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, 1/2 c. parmesan cheese and egg, set aside. Melt 1/2 c. butter in saucepan. Sift in flour, add pepper and salt. Stir in milk and cream and remaining parmesan cheese. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir until thick.

Remove noodles from water, pat dry with paper towel. Spread about 1/2 c. spinach mixture over each noodle. Roll up jellyroll fashion starting at short end. Spread a small amount of sauce on bottom of buttered 2-qt. rectangular baking dish. 

Place rolls in dish. Spoon remaining sauce over roll ups. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake 30-35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Gotta Love No. 17 - Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Creativity gets me. Over the top creativity, Gotta Love No. 17.  I am loving the concept of the Petaluma, California location of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. It is located in a 1920's Roman Renaissance Revival-style old Sonoma County National Bank building. And the name on the front? Seed Bank.

This building is the ultimate in creativity. 

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed, located in Mansfield, Missouri was founded by 17 year-old Jere Gettle  in 1998, it turn out that there’s very little that’s ordinary about Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. When Gettle started collecting the seeds of older, rarer varieties of plants and selling them through his mail order business he found that there were gardeners, growers, and small farmers all over the country interested in growing their heirloom crops and antique flowers and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds quickly had a following.

Visit them at for more information.  

Image and Content Sources: Baker Heirloom Seed, Design Sponge

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Garden Design No. 6 - 2012 Garden Trends

Pennsylvania's famous groundhog, which I have mixed feeling about, (okay I hate him.), predicted six more weeks of Winter for us. For as long as I can remember, this rodent predicted this same doomsday message, sometimes when there was no possible way he saw his shadow without artificial light assisting. Alas, I'm still looking towards Spring, it's a promise that always comes to be!

I'm excited about the garden trends for 2012. Some are tried and true, but forgotten for bigger and better. However, like always the tried and true win to rise again. Here's some trends from various sources for this year's gardening season.

Garden Trend No. 1 - Cozier Outdoor Rooms

After all, most of us are not moguls who need spanning outdoor party areas for hundreds of people. Be creative in creating "rooms" out of doors. Even if your outdoor living area is large, more intimate spaces for a variety of uses is cozier. 

Garden Trend No. 2 - Home Food Gardens

No matter where you live home food gardens are possible. Really...rooftops, containers, raised beds. And how about the freshness and color possibilities?

There is truly nothing like spring lettuces grown from seed! And the most amazing mini crops can be made more interesting when growing from heirloom seeds. 

Garden Trend No. 3 - Color Trend: Black and Amber

Who would have imagined that the color "black" would be a trend color for our garden? Breathe... (it's okay - no this doesn't refer to Morticia's garden. Black is used loosely to refer to the darkest blooms available to gardeners. Like this Aeonium Arboreum Zwartkop below.

The second hottest color for Spring 2012? Orange. And what a contrast with lush greens and "blacks" - very sophisticated.

Garden Trend No. 4 - Create a Wildlife Haven

Planting berry plants, fragrant flowers, and keeping bird seed a plenty will create a wildlife haven that is beneficial for both you and the birds and butterflies. This wildlife helps control insects and pollinates flowers. Yeah  - a win for both you and the birds and butterflies.

Garden Trend No. 5 - Play Up Texture

When choosing your plants for your landscape and containers - think texture. It is the simplest of plants that create so much texture -- "drama queen" should be their species name. Think Elephant Ear, Waxed Begonia, and any grasses. Not a single flowering plant in the container shown above but...Wow!

Garden Trend No. 6 - Urban Farming

Urban farming has grown in popularity over the last few years. But if you wish to pursue this trend, most important - do your research. This is not a novelty. I have to say the chicken coops are getting quite swank.

Garden Trend No. 7 - Succulent Love!

If you haven't visited the succulent section of your local garden center you won't understand until you do. For those of us who have succulent love, we understand that drooling is possible. And yes, we even catch ourselves just gazing (okay gawking) at these morsels of coolness.

Garden Trend No. 8 - Indoor Plants

I heard it - the groaning from those not so green thumbs. But indoor plantings actually clean the toxins from the air inside our homes. And there are varieties that are friendly to those without a green thumb.

Image and Content Resources:  Better Homes and Gardens, Elle Decor, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Sustainable Gardens, Crab Apple Land

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