Friday, January 29, 2010

PETA May Not Approve . . .

But cowhide rugs are everywhere. I really like the look of them. I just can't decide if I'd like one in my house.

They seem to look best in light and airy interiors, which I love, but unfortunately don't have.

Maybe if I lived in California. And had cool wide plank floors like these.
Why am I thinking about cowhide rugs? They are for sale right now at Southeastern Salvage (a regional outlet) for $99. That's a really good deal considering Ballard Designs is offering them for $449 and West Elm on sale for $299. Of course, the fact that big catalog companies/retailers are selling them is evidence they may be overexposed. But I'm a bit trendy, so I don't care.

My hesitation? I'm just not sure I want a dead cow on my floor. I don't have an ethical problem with eating beef or wearing/carrying leather goods, so why should I care? I don't know. Something about walking on a cowhide just creeps me out ever so slightly.
But my friend Kristen has one in her entry, and I think it looks great! Another slight problem . . . I'm not sure where I'd put it. Details, details.
Just look how chic.  Hmm . . . this will require more thought. What do you think? Is it okay to walk all over a dead cow?

Photos: My Little Happy Place, My Favorite and My Best and My Interior Life

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Before and After

I don't have too many great "before and after" photos of design projects for a couple of reasons.   

1. I haven't redone a whole lot of stuff.  
2. More importantly, I forget to take "before" photos thus lessening the "ooh and ahh" effect. Because seriously, who cares what something looks like now if you didn't bother to record the piece of crap it was before.

But, I did happen to find some great shield-back dining chairs on Craigslist a few months back AND I remembered to take a couple of photos. I knew they would need to be reupholstered, but I also got the idea to paint them white making them look a little less granny and a little more current. 

Without further ado . . . here is the BEFORE:

And drum roll, please . . . the AFTER:

Some people, and you may be among those, think I'm crazy for painting these perfectly nice mahogany chairs white. First of all, I actually paid a nice lady and her daughter to paint them for me. Secondly, I like the effect and just wanted something different that would contrast with my fairly traditional dining room table. I re-upholstered the seats myself. They're not perfect, but who cares. 

I ordered a host and hostess chair in the same fabric for either end of the table from one of my best friends Kristen, the interior designer (who has access to great stuff).

I could have gone with a coordinating fabric but I had already purchased way more of this fabric than I needed, so I used what I had. Plus, I liked the idea of having different styles of chair with the same upholstery.

So, finally, after almost two years of having just a dining room table with no chairs (I can be indecisive at times, and at other times just lack the funds), I have a somewhat complete dining room.


So what do you think? Should I have left well enough alone?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

California Dreamin' . . .

I don't know about you, but the weather is getting me down. First we had the arctic blast a couple of weeks ago, now there are tornadoes in the forecast. And the utter and complete devastation in Haiti is horrific and almost unimaginable.

At times like these, I could use some diversions. 

 Ornamental fruit tree blossoms from blogger Slim Paley's Southern 
California garden before the floods came.

 Recognize this? It's the kitchen of Nora Walker (Sally Field) from the show 
Brothers and Sisters (set in Cali and filmed there).

Namely pretty pictures. Delicate flowers, interesting art, beautiful interiors. Some of my favorites at the moment come from sunny California. Of course, California is flooding right now . . . another victim of Mother Nature. What the @!#!@$?!!

California interior designer Katie Leede's work. Just pretty. Ahh.

What are you dreaming of on such a winter's day?

Photos: Slim Paley, and

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

You Zig and I'll Zag

Confession: I love zigzags.

Some refer to it as a chevron pattern (chevron is basically a fancy term for the "V" shape).

Whatever you call it, I like it. And would like some in my home please.

I'm loving these Schumacher chevron pillows from Plum Cushion on Etsy.

But where, oh where, should I put them? I'm thinking my bedroom could use some sprucing.
These throws are a little out of my price range, but I do think their fun colors would add a bit of spark to any interior.

Or maybe a rug could fill my zigzag void? This one from West Elm fits the bill.

A gratuitous shot of the Schumacher chevron fabric on the club chairs by the fireplace.

So what do you think? Do you love zigzags as much as I do, or do they just remind you of this poor guy?

Photos: Revival Home and Garden, Madeline Weinrib, Plum Cushion, Unica Home, West Elm, Elle Decor and Photobucket.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Unexpected Compliment

Recently, I experienced one of those giddy moments when I spied something I own (or something very similar) in a design magazine. I hate to sound shallow, but it simply made me smile. Sort of like receiving an unexpected compliment.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I opened my February issue of House Beautiful and ran across an article on a grand historic home in Montgomery, Alabama that featured a piece of art by Nan Cunningham

 It's the still-life of pears hanging on the shelves.

While my painting is not displayed in nearly such a fabulous setting (mine's just hanging in my powder bath that's in desperate need of new paint or wallpaper), it's also by Nan Cunningham featuring a very similar subject.

Sorry about the quality of this photo. 
Adequate lighting is lacking in the bathroom.

So, that's my sad little moment of glory . . . probably the closest my home will ever get to being featured in a magazine. I must live vicariously through my famous art (or art by the same artist . . . just let me have my dream, okay?!).

Am I the only one who dreams of having a magazine-worthy house?

Photos: House Beautiful, My Interior Life

Friday, January 15, 2010

Bad Kitty

Are you familiar with this book?

It's one of my children's favorites. They just cackle at the destructive antics of this angry or possibly just misunderstood feline. 

Well, it seems as if life has imitated art as this is what our own "bad kitty" did to the playroom carpet last night while we were sleeping. Yeah, not so funny in real life.

What the @#*%^&*??!!

Apparently, he got trapped in the playroom last night when I shut the door (to prevent our large dog from preying on toys and stuffed animals). Just like any trapped animal, he tried to dig/scratch his way out.

Our usually mellow "Bad Kitty" Oreo. He even looks like the illustrated version.

I swear I did not start this blog just to rant about my pets. This just has been a particularly weird week for the four-legged furry friends in our house. With all that's going on in the world, especially after the horrendous tragedy in Haiti, I'm not complaining. Just trying to add some levity with my mundane household issues. Sometimes you just have to laugh, right?!

I really don't want to re-carpet the whole playroom, so if you know of any carpet repair options or have any ideas on how I could conceal/camouflage this, please let me know.

Photos: Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel, cover art courtesy of

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

One is the Loneliest Number

If one is good, then two are better, right?
I say definitely yes. Pairs are good.
Since the dawn of time, nature has conspired to pair us off . . . Adam & Eve, the animals on the ark, night and day, good and bad, yin and yang, ebony and ivory. You get the picture.

I love the symmetry of sets of anything . . . lamps, chairs, tables, art. Ah, the order of it.
Can you find all the pairs in my living room? I might have a problem. An intervention might be in order.

Don't get me wrong, I do love a little asymmetry too. But with all the chaos in the world right now, I find the balance of pairs comforting in a way. How about you?

Photos: House Beautiful, Elle Decor, My Interior Life

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday, Shmonday

Today was one of those days. Monday, Monday . . . can't trust that day. It was a string of unpleasant occurrences . . . I awoke with my head hurting, discovered the dog had peed on the rug again (see below) and then received some disappointing news (nothing earth-shattering, but still). Later in the day, the washing machine started leaking and the cat puked on our bedroom carpet. Seriously.

Exhibit A (can't see the discoloration? I can)

In the grand scheme of things, I realize these are just minor hiccups, but overall I'd categorize this day as less than stellar. Not horrible . . . just not great fun.

But then something miraculous happened. I got over it. Something simple changed my mood. Sometimes, thank goodness, that's all it takes. Was it chocolate? Or a new piece of furniture (an X bench, maybe)?

Nope. It was my 4-year-old son playing his Nintendo DSI so intently that he developed an inadvertent kicking motion with his left foot nearly clocking me in the face as I sat next to him. For some reason, my husband and I found this hilarious. Then he proceeded to coach his father -- in an uber-serious manner -- on how to properly play his Super Mario Brothers game (as if my husband had never played a video game before in his life . . . ha!). It was hilarious and sweet and adorable . . . kind of one of those "you had to be there moments." Which is exactly why it was so great.

Leave it to a 4-year-old to put the whole day into perspective. Now, where's my Spot Shot?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Clean Sweep

My house isn't quite this messy, but I'm definitely feeling the need to de-clutter and clean today. This office actually belongs to one of my favorite directors, Sofia Coppola. Maybe if I were more creative I could get away with having a room look like this?

Speaking of cleaning, here is the reason I must vacuum too often (but isn't she cute?!) . . .
and the two main reasons my counters are constantly in need of wiping down (of course, they're extremely cute, too) . . .

And lastly, my new favorite organic cleaner . . . J.R. Watkins' Natural Home Care All Purpose Cleaner in Aloe & Green Tea scent. It's a nice change from all my lavender cleaners. Got mine at Target, but you can check out other purchasing options here.

Happy Cleaning!

Photos courtesy of:, My Interior Life and J.R. Watkins Natural Home Care.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Feeling Blue?

I know I am.
And by blue, I don't mean sad or depressed. Quite the contrary.
I am loving me some blue lately. Especially the deep saturated blues. Peacock blue. Prussian blue or (gasp) teal, even.

I'm not sure if I'm up for painting a whole room yet. Maybe just my closet.

Here's a swatch I painted. And yes, my college diploma is in my closet. Isn't yours?

For now, I've just been adding pops of this blue (and other shades too) throughout the house.

My foo dogs protect the mess on my desk while adding some much needed color to my bedroom. I know they may be so last season, but I still love them anyway. Just as I love the slightly, um, unusual paper weight (just to the left of the foo dog) my daughter made in art last year. I'm calling it folk art.

What color are you "feeling" right now?

Photos courtesy of House Beautiful (Miles Redd, Rob Southern, Jeffrey Bilhuber) and My Interior Life.

Friday, January 8, 2010

If Loving a Chair is Wrong . . .

That's not exactly how the song goes, but you get the idea. It's true . . . I'm in love (okay, maybe just serious "like") with a chair. The object of my desire? The Elkins Loop chair designed by famed decorator Frances Elkins in 1930. I recently saw this knock-off/reproduction in a local store, and I can’t get my mind off of it.

Granted, it's not the best reproduction (it was made in Indonesia), it has a small crack in the finish and I would change the fabric, but the price is right. They only have one left, and I have no idea where I'll put it . . . but I'm sure I could make it work.

I became obsessed with this iconic chair many moons ago. Can’t remember when. Too many design magazines have created a rut in my memory.

Mary McGee featured an Elkins Loop chair in her glamorous Beverly Hills bungalow.

Meg Braff threw some loops in a Hamptons house upping the wow factor even more.

And NY designer James Andrew thought the more loops the merrier!

If I can't have the Elkins Loop chair itself, I'm definitely leaning toward getting this beautiful rendering of one by artist Anne Harwell (known to design blog enthusiasts as Annechovie). For a mere $25 (plus shipping), it could be mine. Check out her Etsy shop here.

How about you . . . does the Elkins chair inspire you or leave you cold?

Photos courtesy of: My Interior Life, House Beautiful, House Beautiful, Style Redux and Annechovie.