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NYC Trip

I jumped at the opportunity to join Reid in New York City last week.  I'm a huge fan of the city and feel fortunate that it's only a two hour train ride away.  My game plan, I mean our game plan...visit the Guggenheim Museum, check out the holiday windows at Bergdorfs, shop at ABC Home and see the NY Botanical Gardens.   

The Guggenheim was designed by the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.   The museum is one of his most famous achievements, so I was eager to check out the museum in person.  The museum's website describes the building as an "inverted ziggurat", with "galleries...divided like membranes in citrus fruit", similar to a "nautilus shell".    

The building is spectacular from the outside but, unfortunately, we'll have to go back to see the inside.  During my careful planning, I overlooked the fact that it's closed on Thursdays!  

Next stop, the famous holiday windows at Bergdorf Goodman which did not disappoint...

The windows are a mix of fantasy and fashion inspired by the Jazz Age in the 1920s and 1930s.  Bergdorf's visual presentation team starts planing holiday windows in January.  Their creative meetings must be so much fun!

 Especially liked the bird's eye view of the band playing...

Across from our hotel was the well known, "Lipstick Building" by Philip Johnson and John Burgee.  It's shape, is a break from the nearby rectangular skyscrapers.  It's said all offices are "corner" offices.

Before dinner we took the subway to ABC Home, one of my favorite home stores.  We walked by the colorful Empire State Building on the way.

I had no idea that the ABC Home windows would be a treat too...

My main reason was to see the 6th floor with all their gorgeous rugs, includes the vintage dyed ones below...

We had a yummy dinner at the Casa Lever House restaurant which is best known for its retro modern interiors.

The next day, on our way home, we stopped by the New York Botanical Gardens.

The highlight was the holiday train show that includes 140 iconic New York buildings made from twigs, fruit, seeds and other natural materials.  Here are some of my favorites.

The real St. Patricks Cathedral is currently under a full restoration, so it was nice to see this model without all the scaffolding.

The Guggenheim...

And Yankee stadium...

Since we've been back, our holiday festivities have been in full swing, including our 8th annual gingerbread house decorating party for the neighborhood children.   

I wish all you a joyful holiday season and happy new year!


Winter Holiday Decor

It's been very warm in Maryland for this time of year.  I'm wishing for a little snow, especially after reading this poem...

Snow in the Suburbs

by Thomas Hardy

.....Every branch big with it,
....Bent every twig with it;
........Every fork like a white web-foot;
........Every street and pavement mute:
Some flakes have lost their way, and grope back upward, when
Meeting those meandering down they turn and descend again.
....The palings are glued together like a wall,
....And there is no waft of wind with the fleecy fall.

.....A sparrow enters the tree,
....Whereon immediately
........A snow-lump thrice his own slight size 
........Descends on him and showers his head and eyes 
And overturns him, 
.And near inurns him, 
........And lights on a nether twig, when its brush 
....Starts off a volley of other lodging lumps with a rush. 

....The steps are a blanched slope, 
.....Up which, with feeble hope, 
........A black cat comes, wide-eyed and thin; 
.And we take him in. 

Most of you have probably finished decorating but in case you want to add a few more touches, here's some inspiration...


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I hope you are finding the time between shopping, decorating, entertaining, traveling, etc. to sit back, relax and enjoy this time of year!  I'm trying....


Recent Project: Turning a House into a Home

Earlier this year my client purchased a new house.   They had the entire house repainted and have been adding furniture throughout the year.  They contacted me because they were eager to make their home more finished and comfortable for the holidays.

This project impacted seven rooms, each needing different and installation of window treatments, selection and installation of furniture, selection of lighting (the electricians did the installing), and the selection and installation of art and accessories.  Phase one of this project was to be completed before Thanksgiving.

This type of project involves a tremendous amount of shopping, both online and at local stores.   We purchased close to 100 items for this home, so it also involved a lot of coordination and constant communication with my client.

Here's a tour ...

The foyer used to be empty but now has a bench, baskets, pillows and very friendly cat who follows you everywhere.   A pretty mirror and rug were also added to the foyer but this post would be way to long if I included everything!  The painting was special to the family but it was in need of a new frame so I used Framer's Vise in Arnold.  I'm a huge fan of Framer's Vise, not only for their great frame selection and advice but also for their wonderful art gallery.  

To the left of the foyer is the dining room.  Below is the BEFORE picture.  The purple paint color, table and buffet were a great starting point.

Here's the dining room after we added a chandelier, sconces, mirror, and accessories.  The chairs are getting new slipcovers (not shown) that will have a bold floral pattern so we purposely left the accessories more neutral so they would not compete with them.  The table and chairs have a rustic style, so we were interested in a casual but elegant look.

The platter below is from Annapolis Pottery, a great place to find hand made accessories.

Next you walk into the kitchen.   The pendant lights over the island replaced smaller white glass pendants .   I like how these new pendants contrast against the white cabinetry and have a bit more presence.  This week we moved into phase two of this project which includes adding valances to the kitchen windows and new seat cushions.    The fabric I'll be suggesting will nicely tie together the great room with the kitchen.

Next is the great room.  Below is the BEFORE picture.

And here is the finished result.  The fan was replaced with the wood bead chandelier.  Drapery was installed, pillows constructed, and accessories such as candles, a throw, and many other accents were placed throughout the room. 

Here's a closer look...

I'm not a big fan of faux flower arrangements.  Ok, truth is, I dislike most of them.  However, if they have a natural woodland look, like the one below, then I think it works.   Pretty and maintenance free!

My client also asked me to accessorize their bookcase which used to look like this...

And now it looks like this.  We kept all the great old books but rearranged them and added accents.  We found an old dinner bell and butter press in Annapolis antique stores and a pretty vase from Annapolis Pottery.    The vintage looking "D" and frames came from large national stores and work well with the antiques and handmade pieces.

Below in the mirror's reflection you can see the artwork we selected for the powder room.  All done by a local artist.  This photo doesn't do them justice.  Close up and in person, you can better see the beautiful details.

Next we head upstairs to the daughter's rooms.  Here's the BEFORE picture of their oldest daughter's room.

Here's the after picture.  Luckily her mom let us reuse the chandelier artwork from her office to create a good focal point.  We had fun putting together the bedding ensemble.  We also added lighting, accessories, and a lounge area (not shown).

Here's a closer look at the bedding.  The mix of pattern and textures is fun.  If you noticed the lamp bases don't work with the shades, you've got a keen eye!  The lamp bases I originally ordered didn't come when they were supposed too and then put on backorder for several months...ugh!  Luckily,  the next day, I found the perfect glass ball lamp bases that were taller and more substantial looking, but I never retook the picture with the new bases.  

Rule of thumb with shades is the shade height should be 1/3 the total height of the lamp, so the base should be about 2/3s the total height.  

Here's a BEFORE picture of the daughter's office.  

With some minor rearranging and accessories, we created a more functional and attractive office.  A bookcase with baskets and art were placed on the back wall, a chandelier was relocated from another room, a desk light, desk accessories, and furry desk chair with pillow were also added.   Several pieces of furniture were originally placed on angles, which in some cases works or is necessary, however, whenever possible, I try to avoid it.   The office became more spacious with the desk placed against the wall.

Here's a BEFORE picture of their youngest daughter's room.

The black and white polka dot bedding needed to stay so we added the fun shams, accent pillows, and turquoise sheets and throw to pull it all together.  A fun mosaic glass mirror was placed above the bed.  You probably noticed it looks a bit high.  That's because we made room for the upholstered headboard that has not been installed yet.  It goes in this week.

The dresser below was relocated.

And replaced with a bookcase, canvas bins and custom message board.  We carefully selected all the ribbons to tie in the colors from the bedding...a fun little DIY project.

I hope you enjoyed the house tour!  My favorite part of this job was seeing the youngest daughter jumping up and down with excitement after seeing the changes to her room while the oldest daughter immediately took pictures of her room to share with her friends.  Good stuff.

If you would like help either transforming your home or simply adding the finishing touches, don't hesitate to contact me!

Have a great rest of the week!