Monday, March 30, 2009

Carter Colonial

An older issue of Traditional Home (May 2007) caught my eye when going through some tear sheets. This is a home Darryl Carter did in the DC area -- right across from Ted Kennedy -- for a young family. I love love love that they were willing to use neutrals in the company of kids. So many people are afraid of them, but in actuality they fill a space without adding clutter and in many ways is easier to maintain.

I love the moldings on the walls -- it trims out the rooms and adds that bit of architectural detail that would maybe make the room feel cold otherwise.

Up close, these photos are all of the family and I love it because it's an example of how family photos can be displayed as art and then become appropriate for more public areas of the home.

The chair. 'Nuf said.

Sharp lines on the lighting, over scale chairs at the table -- all playing nicely together.

Obviously a fantastic patio, but I love it more for the trim around the doors. Very dark trim against the white of the traditional Colonial home almost makes the backyard feel more like Sonoma than an upscale DC neighborhood. A respite from making centerpieces for the the junior league maybe...

(photos by Gordon Beall, Traditional Home, May 2007)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

That's a tree. In his house.

You're eyes aren't playing tricks.

Some cool photos of a house in the Hollywood Hills made interesting by the fact that they chose to add a second bedroom around an existing tree. I think it's noble that they recognized that the tree was there first and even though it substantially added to their renovation costs, it's what ended up making the house remarkable. There are some other photos here, as well as the full story.

I also love that the author of the article managed to work in the angle of "after his wife left him..." into a style feature. Brutal.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Off and Running

This only represents part of my day I promise -- mainly the idea of bacon band-aids on my mangled carpenter hands just makes me laugh and cry.

But, asides aside, today was my first full day of unemployment. After being a little panicked about waking up and not having a routine to answer to, I tried to move on and started working on some furniture projects. My plan for today was this: get the first coat of paint on a desk that I'm going to use in my bedroom, while drying, go to an underwhelming estate sale, and then end the day ripping my hands to shreds deconstructing some bat-shit scary french armchairs.

Mission accomplished, the chairs are stripped and ready for more abuse tomorrow (or vice versa). Thank god they ended up having caning underneath the fabric and padding, otherwise it might not have taken so long and I would have had to panic about what to spend tomorrow on...

Something tells me I'll manage just fine though.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Making Whoopie

I love that this was in the NYT this morning - a whole article on the resurgence of whoopie pies. It's true though, they really have come back and spread out. They're moving west and turning up everywhere when a good number of people know little more about them then what's obvious at first glance -- they look delightful. So for all of you who've never made whoopie, the Times has a history as well as recipes.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Before & After

Had to share this before and after from Trove. A perfect example of seeing the potential in a dog of a chair.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Man-I-cures & Ped-I-cures

Remember how I've mentioned that I'm going to be out of work soon? Remember how I've mentioned that I'm going on a wallet-depleting trip? And remember how I said I'd rather shop for clothes more than anything? Well I've had to make some choices and this is where I netted out:

Problem: I've 86'ed the seldom-used gym membership
Solution: Heeellllo "Bun Battle"

Realizing that I will not have the money to hire a personal trainer and learn how to work out, I've hired celebrity workout guru Gunnar Peterson. And the beauty? I can learn in the privacy and convenience of my very own home!*

Problem: Scraggly feet and raggedy nails
Solution: Long-forgotten DIY nail bag, elbow grease

Realizing that I really shouldn't be a prissy weenie, I sucked it up and touched my feet. This is a big deal for me since normally I will pay big money to have someone else touch them in a sanitized bowl garnished with fizzies and loveliness. 2 hours (2 hours!!!) later, I had painted hands and toes with only a few smudges to show for it.

*I should probably confess that I watched both workout DVD's while painting said nails and have yet to actually use them in the traditional sense. Just getting a feel for what would be expected of me... didn't want to jump in head first without adequate preparation...

4-day Jet-setter

It really doesn't happen to me very often, but every once in awhile, the stars align and I have moments of feeling trendy and hip. After three days in Vegas, I roll-y suitcase-ed right in to work only to be given tickets to a sold out Lady Gaga concert. Wait, this get's even more obnoxious -- they were straight from her band. Don't hate me because I'm dumb lucky.

After the most painful 2.5 hours of watching long drawn out openers, she finally appeared in all her GaGa glory. RIP Madonna, get your hair buzzer Britney, because the girl has serious chops and a killer look. For being at a small, no-frills venue, she had 4 costume changes (none of which included pants), three man-dancers and an acrylic piano filled with bubbles. Did I mention she was wearing an outfit made of bubbles and played the piano with her foot while wearing 4" acrylic heels? Yeah, crazy, but wonderful.

Give a listen here, here & here. Her look in concert is more art house/high fashion than record lable popster -- I wish her videos showed that more.

Vegas Follow-up

So here's my deal with Vegas. It's weird.

Only in Vegas do I feel guilty spending money to eat, but not drink. Only in Vegas do I have the sudden confidence to walk up to a bouncer at a club and without even exchanging words, know that he will let me in to the VIP area. Only in Vegas do people pay $500 dollars for a lousy bottle of Grey Goose and then give it away like water. Only in Vegas do I make idle chitchat with skeezeballs in return for booze.

Only in Vegas have I ever come close to thinking "Jesus, I'm a hop, skip and a jump from being a hooker."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Vegas baby! Vegas!

I'm taking off this weekend for Vegas, a totally spur of the moment (for me that means 3 weeks in advance) trip with girlfriends from work and I couldn't be more excited. The last time I went, I figured I would not be back for a loooong time since the city as a whole is a little bit much for me and the maiden voyage was a bachelorette party that was totally over-the-top in a "this can't be duplicated" way. I figured I'd go out on a high note, but I couldn't pass up the chance to spend time with the friends I've made through my job and as the days count down to my new life, it's a little bit of a graduation party for me. I'm thinking it's all about the experiences right now and when I look back, I'm not going to wish that I hadn't spent the money. I would instead wish that I hadn't been afraid to let go of a little cash and say "screw it, I'm in."

lub dat tub

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Add to cart

I won't purchase just yet, but someday soon, you'll be mine. Regardless of his tragic/foxy ex-wife being on Real Housewives of New York, I’ve liked Gilles Bensimon’s work for awhile, but didn’t realize he had a book. I don’t know why I didn’t think about it, since every famous photographer seems to have picked up a book option at some point in their lives, but it’s all good news to me.

Others I’m pining after, Mario Testino: Portraits, Herb Ritts: Notorious & Richard Avedon: Photographs 1946 – 2004.

Monday, March 9, 2009

See that bookcase?

This is what I need. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I've got no place for all the books that I can't part with. It was suggested this weekend that I cram a bookcase into my bedroom and make it nice by choosing bamboo or something in a good material. I almost got in a real fight with them. One, because I have very strong convictions about where bookcases should be placed (not in the bedroom unless they're built-ins) and second, because if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it right. I want one that's wide and filled with horizontal lines, that "Billy" business they've got going on at Ikea is an assault on living rooms. If you don't devote the space to make it look intentional, it will end up being known only as a home for things purchased from the "Summer Reads" clearance table at Barnes and Noble. It's a viscious circle.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


From looking at my closet, it would be no surprise that I'm not a huge fan of bright colors, more in rooms than my attire, but in general I prefer the flexibility of neutrals far more than those big bold colors that mother-in-laws tend to peddle.

I do, however, love the way that deep purple has been incorporated into the two rooms above (the second by designer Sarah Story). By using purple on the ceiling, it gives an element of the unexpected, while not interfering with the the tone-on tone dining room. Also notice the painted hardwoods with a metallic hexagon pattern.

*Photos courtesy of

For King.

Beautiful peonies with you in mind. Spring's almost here, go forth and prosper.

Like Switzerland

Beautiful neutrals. I love the two chairs by the fireplace done in what appears to be a velvet?

*Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I've got an itch to shop

I've been in major recession mode due to upcoming trips and impending unemployment, but right now my head is saying "but you really need those." And I can't help but agree with myself, there are some things out there that would be the perfect addition to the aforementioned trips. Plus I want to trash everything in my closet right now because I'm so sick of wearing it all with no new items to mix it up. This is the time of year where I would normally buy, buy, buy and then come home and roll around in all of my purchases. Not so, this year. And it is killing me.

So here is my virtual shopping binge. Maybe I can practice affirmations and by speaking it out loud, they will actualize in my closet by the grace of my own determination? Or odds are I will buy at least one of these items...

So cute - new from J.Crew, but I'm thinking orange if I can swing the tan.

Elizabeth & James, perfect for my upcoming girls weekend in Vegas. Please excuse the included tragic looking model.

NOW THIS. This is what I really want. It's hard to see it here, but it's the softest light gray cashmere lined with a shell pink. SO pretty. It's Theory.

More J.Crew, this will be a must for Europe. Throw it on with anything and be instatnly market-chic. Pair it with the longchamp tote I bought and maybe I'll start to fulfill one of my new years resolution of trying to be more chic.