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Holiday Decorating and Annapolis Architecture

Soon after I finished decorating for Thanksgiving it felt like I was replacing it all with Christmas decorations.  Sure wish there was more of a breather between the holidays!  I'm just glad I have this picture of my Thanksgiving table so I can remember it!  This year, I used potted herbs and ferns, small pumpkins, squash, tulips combined with woven chargers, a mix of candles and holders, and chunky blue water glasses.  The look of the table was less formal this year and natural.

For Christmas decorations, I start with the outside first.  Mostly, because I love arriving at home in the evening to the lights!  Again, I wanted a more natural look with a fresh cedar and boxwood garland and wreath.  My kids said they wanted colored lights this year, so up they went (definitely more noticeable in the evening!).  It would be nice if I added pots with miniature pine trees but not sure I'll be getting around to it.  Did you notice the big newfoundland head through the glass of the door?  She's probably wondering what the heck I'm doing taking a picture while it's snowing.

Three years ago we went through a renovation of our home which included replacing windows and adding a new portico, stone porch and walkways.  Below is what the front door used to look like.  The portico added some much needed architectural interest to the front of our colonial saltbox house.  It also provides shelter from the weather and it's a great place to put up a garland at Christmas time!

I recently had the opportunity to go on a walking architectural tour of Annapolis.   In school I studied the classical (Roman and Greek) and western european architectural features that have been replicated in the United Stated over the past several centuries.  It was great to get a refresher course and see these architectural elements in Annapolis.  

Below is a picture I took of a Georgian style door I just loved.  I'm a big fan of shiny black doors, especially with big red lush wreaths!  At this point in the tour, I had walked four hours and was starting to zone out.  I so wish I could remember the details of this home that our guide, an experienced historian in architecture and decorative arts, told us.  I vaguely remember a story that sounded terribly romantic and the couple built this home for their daughters in the 1700s.

This door belongs to the Hammond-Harwood House and is a gorgeous example of Georgian style.  Georgian style was popular during the 18th century, from King George I (1711) to the American Revolution, or King George III.  Attributes of a Georgian style home includes symmetry with center entrance and equal number of windows in each side.  A paneled front door with pilasters (columns attached to the wall), entablature (this one has a decorative tobacco leaves - guess what Hammond did for a living?), and a cornice with dentil molding. Americans replicated these details from English architecture books.  The details of this door are gorgeous and it is has perfect proportions.  

We walked by this house which was not on the tour but I thought it was adorable.  The siding was painted a very pretty aqua and the shutters and door trim were painted a navy blue (a bit darker then the picture)

We also walked by the William Paca House, a another famous example of Georgian architecture in the States, and also happens to be where Reid and I got married 14 years ago.  It's so great to live close to where we got married because every time we walk by the Paca House we are reminded of our wedding!

The English style gardens in the rear was the location for our ceremony and reception.  The garden used to be a parking lot for a hotel that was restored and opened to the public in the 1970s.  Below is a picture of the summer house where our ceremony took place.  It is a classic dome styled design with pretty coining on the corners.   

 Here's the newly married couple who just walked across the Chinese Chippendale styled bridge set over a pond.

The last stop on the tour was Reynolds Tavern, another Georgian style building.  The tavern originally operated from the mid 1700s to early 1800s as a tavern.  Then it become a bank, a home, a library and finally a tavern again in the 1980s.  The building has a steep slate gambrel roof, is flanked by large slab chimneys on each side, and has the eye-catching segmental arches above the first floor windows.  Reid and I have only been to the outdoor Sly Fox Tavern in the rear of the building (because dogs are allowed).  But know I'm looking forward to seeing the inside!  

It was a wonderful tour that gave me a much deeper appreciation for Annapolis' history and architecture.

If you are still looking for something for someone special on your list, consider purchasing a gift certificate for interior design services by me!  Contact me at melissa@melissamclayinteriors for more information.

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season!


Recent Project: Renovated Family Room

It's amazing what a new paint color, a new fireplace, new windows, new furniture arrangement, and new television and sound system can do for a room!  I recently helped a client transform her family room so not only does it look better, it has more natural light and functions better for entertaining or staying home for a quiet night of watching television!

Below you can see the wall color was updated with Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter, a pretty soft gray.  We wanted to make sure the room color didn't feel cold and sterile, which some grays can do.  So we were in search of a "happy" gray... Revere Pewter was the result.  The color makes for a really pretty backdrop to my client's furnishings.  The new gas fireplace puts off some serious heat and looks great too.

This project began when my client discovered that the weight of her existing fireplace, which was improperly installed by a previous owner, was pulling away the wall.  The entire wall and support structure for the fireplace needed to be rebuilt.    This gave us the opportunity to rethink the placement of windows and fireplace design. 

Below is a picture of my client's family room before the renovations began.  Notice the television and cabinet are blocking the fireplace.  Two chairs are in front of a sliding glass door that never gets used and the amount of natural and artificial light was poor.

Below you can see we added two windows to either side of the fireplace.  We also had the sliding glass door removed and added two windows on the sofa wall.    Pretty sconces by Circa Lighting were added above the fireplace along with recessed lights in the ceiling, which were all placed on dimmers.  Accent lights, such as floor lamps and table lamps are used for ambient lighting.  We added a glass coffee table to visually lighten the space and reflect some of the natural light.  

I learn something new on every project since each project is different.  For this project, I learned about the Sonos sound system.  Sonos allows you to manage your music from your phone, tablet or computer.  You can play music from satellite radio, Pandora, iTunes, or your private music collection through your wireless speakers.  It's an amazing product!  

Below you can see we placed an eclectic arrangement of personal photos on either side of the television for interest.

Below is a BEFORE picture of the room near the kitchen.

Below you can see the knee wall remains but the rest of the opening was removed which opens up the space.  The antique desk was added to provide a place for paying bills and using a laptop.

It's so fun for me to look at the before and after pictures of this project!  I love transformations.  If you would like help transforming your home, please contact me!


Fall Out of Summer

It seems as if summer was going to continue well into October but I think we've finally turned the corner.  It's that time of year when fun, vibrant colors give way to warmer, softer tones.  Hot summer days have transitioned into cooler temperatures and the leaves are just starting to show a hint of color.

The bright colors and fun fabrics in these images remind me of the great summer spent on the water with family and friends.

House Beautiful

McLay Family Vacation 2013

However, as we approach the holidays, I'm ready for the warm colors of fall and the coziness these images evoke.  

I love the simplicity of this dining room with the pop of color.  The gourds are a simple yet effective way to set a Fall table.


Who wouldn't want to wrap up in a blanket with a hot chocolate and enjoy the vibrant colors of the leaves and the lake view on these porches?


Southern Living

I love the knit pillows.  It's a great texture to add to the space and provides a very homey feel.

The bobbin ottoman and patchwork print is a great way to bring color and pattern into the room.  

I can help you make your home cozy and inviting!  Contact me here.

Enjoy the season!


Our Guest Bedroom and Creating a Cutting Flower Garden

After we completed our basement renovation last summer, we changed how we used a lot of the rooms in our home...the refinished basement became my office, my old office became our master suite, our old master suite became my son's room, and my son's room became the guest bedroom, our old guest bedroom became our closet, and Reid's office moved upstairs...whew!  It was a lot of work but well worth the effort.

I was a little burned out after all the changes and just recently spent some time on our guest bedroom.

I wish I had a before picture to show you but basically it looked like a typical young boy's blue, green and white stripped walls to coordinate with a wonderful nautical quilt made by his grandmother.  An adorable room but small.  Now that he's older and much bigger, he is really appreciating his larger room!

 Our guest bedroom looks like this now...

Bedding is from John Robshaw, accent pillow and lamp from Pottery Barn, print from and framed by Framer's Vise,  woven shades by Hunter Douglas, and antique bed, side table, and vase from my grandmother.    I'm happy with how the room and this picture turned out but it added a major project to my list this spring....can you guess what it is??

I want to create a cutting flower garden.  After scrambling for flowers to put in the vase above,  I realized that our yard, most of the time, doesn't have enough flowers to fill one vase.  So, I decided to change this.   

I'm a big fan of fresh flowers and plants in the home.  But I don't like buying flowers because of the cost and the selection is pretty much limited to our local grocery store.  Whenever I see flower arrangements that I really like, they always have a natural look like the one below...

After some searching online, I discovered a wonderful blog called Wild Acre that goes into great detail on how to create a cutting flower garden, the flowers to choose for your garden, and then how to create a beautiful bouquet.  Below are links back to these blog posts that I found useful...

Click here to see the post by Wild Acre for creating your cutting patch design.  

Image via Wild Acre

I don't have enough sun or land for these gardens but I found them inspirational and I could incorporate elements of them into our own patch...

 Source unknown

Click here to see the post by Wild Acre for selecting the right flowers for your garden.  Included is a great list of flowers to try.

Image via Wild Acre

And last but not least, click here to see the post by Wild Acre for creating a beautiful bouquet from your garden.

Image via Wild Acre

I'm looking forward to putting all this great advice to use!

I hope you are having a wonderful spring and enjoying some time outside!

If you would like help making your home beautiful, contact me here.


High Point Market 2013 - Sofas

Once again, my trip to High Point Market did not disappoint.  Lots to see and do.  I took so many pictures that I've decided to break them up into a few posts.  This post covers the sofas and trends that caught my eye.  Let me know if you see something that catches your eye and I can provide you more info.  Enjoy!

First stop was Cisco Brothers.  Their aesthetic is urban, casual and fun.  Their showroom looked like an old warehouse with furniture groupings throughout.  I was taken with their art display below.

Chesterfield style sofas could be found in every showroom.  The one has a tufted bottom and back.  The rustic lighting was fantastic.

I like it here with the bench cushion on top which mimics a feather bed.  You may never leave your sofa.

I'm a big fan of Lillian August furniture and have been keeping my eye on this sofa for my own house.  I would like two small sofas for our fireplace room and definitely want a sofa with one bottom cushion.    I wouldn't have all those pillows on it but love the bench cushion, tufting and nailhead detail.

I liked the rope detail on Brown Jordan's new outdoor sofa...

Over at Four Hands, we spotted another Chesterfield with a tight bottom cushion.  The oversized tennis racquets are fun.

 A newly discovered upholstery source, Stanford, had more bench cushion sofas (yes, I'm a little obsessed with them right now).

Another bench seat sofa but with a track arm.  Pretty and timeless.  Notice the acrylic legs on the traditional ottoman.  Maybe not as timeless but hip for now.

Not a sofa but Standford headboards are popular because they recline the same way as their popular chair frames making for a comfortable seat in bed.  Also, the color orange was found everywhere!

CR Laine's showroom never disappoints with their furniture displays.  The nailhead upholstery detail on this sofa is great.  They must be collaborating with Schumacher fabrics because I spotted their fabrics throughout their showroom, including the floral pillows below.

The thin track arm could be found everywhere.  The tape and nail detail is fun.

Another chesterfield but in leather this time.  Wouldn't it look great in a library or rustic lodge setting?

This was a popular sofa in blogosphere for it's stylized arm and nail detail.

One of my favorite sources, Lee Industries, had great pieces created in collaboration with a Belgium designer.  These sofas are pretty, elegant, and not overly fussy.

 I'm liking the contrasting fabric on the back.

 I believe this is the same sofa but with a skirt.

Here's a sofa with a contrasting fringe trim.  Options for customization are endless!

Here's Cathy and I exhausted after 10 hours of walking and seeing over 50 showrooms, on a tufted sofa with bench cushion, no less.

Stay tuned for more on lighting, accessories, and trends from High Point Market!

If you would like help making your home beautiful, contact me here.

Have a great week!