Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Countdown

I am sorry to have been neglectful in blogging these past few days, the holiday countdown got underway and then I got walloped by the flu - so a big change for my holiday plans.  But alas, Christmas is a season and my mother always says, "as long as you have Christmas in your heart it's with you everyday".  I'm sure she's reinforcing this so I don't get discouraged staying away from my loved ones this holiday season, so as to not to pass along my flu, but I'm also sure she's right, because she's my mother after all.

another holiday window display from my trip to NYC, it's been my screen saver since I returned and has been a fun reminder that the race is on!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

By Candlelight

I absolutely love the glow of candlelight at the holidays, well, really all year long, but especially during the darker wintery months since their warm light cozies up my home.  Couple them with the soft twinkle of white Christmas tree lights and I wish it could be Christmas all year long.  So, naturally I fell in love with the "Pixel Hurricane", (pictured below from Crate & Barrel) and told my husband that "Santa" definitely needed to bring those!  Santa delivered early and dropped off two for my holiday decorating.  They mix perfectly with my antiqued silver candle holders and mercury glass and the warm "pixel"ated light they cast remind me of those white Christmas tree lights that I love so much.

While at Crate & Barrel, I scored with these little gems - the Raj Candleholder, for votives, only $3.95 and going fast!

I absolutely love this - from Restoration Hardware - the Pillar Candle Light String.  Spread the glow of candlelight without the fear of flames. Strung on a clear cord that winds its way invisibly beneath a garland or along a windowsill - this is a must have and currently on sale! 

These Indoor Outdoor Flameless Candles are battery powered, they can be grouped together or used individually.  Also available through Restoration Hardware

And here's just a fun one - the Blomster Lantern through IKEA.  It's a good size at 12 1/2" tall and 8 1/4" in diameter.   This one screams, "let's throw a  New Year's party" - with it's "bubble" motif, I'm seeing a champagne toast!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

An Annapolis Christmas

Two years ago I had the pleasure of decorating a space for The Springhill Center's "Christmas House", located a short distance from Annapolis, MD.  I figured being that close to Annapolis - I needed to take inspiration from The Bay - so, with a mix of soft seaglass colors, pops of white and textures of bamboo, sisal and linen, this relaxing retreat quickly became one of my favorite spaces.

from concept

to completion

I titled the space, "Santa's Retreat", a title befitting a Christmas House...
I figured when Santa needed some R&R, this space could provide him quiet respite.

Notice how Santa never fully relaxes, he's is always checking his Naughty or Nice list.

Santa would enjoy a comfy chair and catching up with the latest Coastal Living.

soft seaglass colors - I chose "Moon Shadow", from Benjamin Moore, for the walls and mixed in furniture and accessories of white, turquoise, green and antiqued silver.

What a find!  I snatched up the mercury glass urn at HomeGoods - it made a perfect tree stand!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Don't look past your walls, look at them...

It's amazing what a little carpentry can accomplish.  I am certainly not implying custom built-ins to be a DIY project, but more a quick update to a tired space without a full blown and costly renovation. Custom built-ins provide a stylish solution for display and storage needs without adding visual bulk to the room, not to mention
demolition dust.  So next time you feel your room closing in on you, don't blame your walls -  look to them for inspiration, the results can be dramatic.

BEFORE:  The fireplace was being crowded by the armoire, on the angle, in the corner.

AFTER:  What a dramatic difference!  The room opened up with the armoire removed and the new cherry mantle and tile work complete the updated look.

BEFORE:  From drab...

AFTER:  ... to FAB! 
Yes, it's the same wall - new custom built-ins clean up the mismatched furniture and even give this client some much needed filing storage and a handy spot for the printer!

BEFORE:  This is good...

AFTER:  But this is better!  Even the radiator got a face lift.

I don't have a before to show, but imagine the nooks to the left and right of this fireplace void of the custom built-ins.  This is a town house in Old Town Alexandria and space is at a premium - so rather than fill in the space with furniture, we decided to add custom closet built-ins!  The middle storage is equipped with hanging rods and the top and bottom hold folded items - a perfect solution. 

another view. 

I love this room, it's formal but still has a TV - cleverly hidden out of view when this room is used for entertaining, but family friendly when the time comes. 

I can't take credit for this space - it's just one I saved for my idea folder - but what a nice look with the built-in window seat - I want to curl up with a good book!

Holiday windows in NYC!

I was able to make a quick visit to the city yesterday and while there, took the opportunity to gaze at the magical holiday window displays.  My absolute favorites were found at Bergdorf's -  the use of cut paper to create elaborate three dimensional works was particularly fascinating.  Of course, I fancied the animal scuptures the most.

a memorable quote from "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus", Macy's display

see, it's in The Sun - YES, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus.

it's not evident in my photo, but the paper seaweed  rippled as if the current was washing over it - very cool!

At Bergdorf's - just loved the industrial light fixture, upper left corner.

A paper sculpture husky and the paper was printed with a map motif - very cool!

This display featured zodiac characters - this must be Leo the Lion.

Loved the raven and the flamingo.

Another character from the zodiac window display.

A shaggy terrier - created from paper no less!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Big Band and The Bubble

Just in from the Michael Buble (and just where do I find that little swashy thing to put over the e in Buble on this keyboard?) concert at Verizon Center - aka The Bubble.  My girlfriend, who treated me to this evenings show, typed in the subject line of her earlier email to me - "Michael Bubble", hence The Bubble.

Michael Buble is like a glass of milk on Red Bull - full, wholesome and energetic.  And his voice, the croon with a swagger - I can see why all the women this evening looked like they were about to faint. 

I must admit, before tonight, I had heard just a handful of songs - but after tonight, I have a whole new appreciation for Michael Buble, the singer and the entertainer.
Bring on The Bubble - I'm a fan.