One of my New Year resolutions is to share more of my design work with my readers. This year has been full of refreshments including my bedroom refresh. My husband has had three surgeries to correct his “post-basketball playing days pains”…one ankle fusion and two knee replacements. We’ve had a twin bed in the living room for most of the year so he could avoid the stairs. Consequently our Christmas decorations were simple as carrying up the boxes of decor by myself was not at all appealing. As the holidays are winding down, I will share my retreat upstairs that I’ve had to myself for awhile. I was able to re-carpet, repaint and replace some of the bedding and reorganize. It’s been refreshing!
The carpet was as old as the remodel which was 25 years ago. Replacing it and painting the walls was the biggest improvement. I tinkered with several shades of white and now we have a new Sherwin Williams custom color named “Wright White”!
While looking at the photos, they don’t seem all that different. However, the little details have made such a tremendous distinction in ambience and organization. When we moved my Mother last month, I inherited the marble table and the vintage lamp and it serves as a beautiful vanity. I get to look out to the Puget Sound as I put on my face each morning.
You know when you start redecorating and everything else starts looking awful? As you can see the painted floor I did years ago is chipped. That will probably be “refreshed” someday. We all have favorite items that are irreplaceable. So I firmly embrace the notion Not Shabby but Chic! My collection of Eiffel Towers and hearts were gifted to me and define many moments I choose to cherish with my friends and family. Each has a memory and I am not one to get rid of things too easily. Consequently things tend to look worn before I am ready to replace. Incidentally you probably know that Wabi-Sabi is a hot trend: Philosophy for an Imperfect Life.
C’est La Vie
I succumbed to the animal craze trend. I had to retire my old Zebra print shams so the alternative of a little fur works well!
This little watercolor has a place of importance beside the skirted side table. You can see more of Pat’s art on his webpage.
Finally, I installed the tall sheer draperies to filter the afternoon heat in the summer. (We don’t have air conditioning in our 100 year old house). Consequently, I love the way they flow in the breeze and frame the view.
Belle vue…here is one of the sunset from my little pied-a-terre.. ..once again referencing my affinity for all things French!
As we bid adieu to the holidays, a snapshot of my front door. I actually love the simplicity of our decorations this year and may never again bring all the ornaments upstairs! More »
New Orleans is pure magic in December. Riding the St. Charles Streetcar, I snapped a few photos of the magnificent mansions in the Garden District decorated for the holidays. The route begins at the perimeter of the French Quarter and passes by Tulane University and Loyola to Audubon Park where I run the path around the pond, through the campuses and then to the end of the line where my favorite luncheonette is located: The Camellia Grill. I’ve always met interesting people at the counter and this year was no exception.
I did my best to capture the highlights which is difficult as the streetcar is moving along St Charles Ave!
My favorite restaurant in New Orleans is Commander’s Palace. It is just a block off St. Charles Avenue. Famous for its many chefs who have made names for themselves such as Emeril LaGasse and Paul Prudhomme, my favorite items are the Turtle Soup au Sherry and the outrageous Bread Pudding. Read more about it here Commander’s Palace
On another day a not-to-miss venture is the weekday prix fixe lunch at Antoine’s. Our waiter Eddie allowed us to tour all the rooms of the first French restaurant in New Orleans. It seats 1000 but you wouldn’t know it as the rooms are small and intimate. Service is elegant in every aspect. To top off the extraordinary experience, martinis are only 25 cents! I ordered the Butternut Squash Bisque for my first course. My son exclaimed it as heaven in a bowl!
And a visit wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the influence of New Orleans on the writing of Tennessee Williams. He wrote many plays including “The Glass Menagerie” and “A Streetcar Named Desire”. I leave you with this quote as I return to my rainy city of Seattle for the rest of the year. Happy Holidays!
But wait! There’s more beauty to experience. Later in the Evening a visit to the Roosevelt Hotel is a must see with thousands of lights twinkling on winter branches lining the corridors.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!
It was only two years ago that I wrote about my mission to find the perfect antique chandelier for a client in New Orleans. And I was fortunate to be able to source a few unique items this year again. Reposting today as December Shopping in the French Quarter is just magical. It was a little cloudy, so these photos were as good as any taken this year. December is especially beautiful as the Crescent City is decorated in many unique and whimsical ways. I wanted to share some of my memorable impressions with you. I hope you enjoy!
Shopping in the French Quarter is an amazing experience. Beautiful antique shops are in abundance especially on Royal Street.
This in-city waterfront home feels like a vacation home however this is a year-round primary residence. And happiness is a collection of shells from the beach just outside… Their back door opens to the sands of the Puget Sound in West Seattle which is a mere fifteen minute drive (yes, admittedly on a good traffic day) to the metropolis of the bustling fastest growing city in the US. Here is a family who has collected prize-worthy shells and composed them in various unique containers and has incorporated whimsical beach-y artifacts through out the home. And it feels like we are on holiday 24/7!
Recently the interior was in need of a refreshing update. An attraction to the linear style fireplace was intriguing and we moved forward to incorporate this feature.
Redesigning the fireplace was a perfect opportunity to update the entire wall. The original casework was built to accommodate a TV. Now that there is a dedicated media room as the preferred venue, we designed shelves to prominently display the shell collection.
Before and After Photo
What a happy project to be working on! The carpenters were always whistling or singing along with the jovial homeowner who was jumping in to help as work progressed. Once the homeowners fell in love with a slab of Antartide quartzite for the hearth the rest of the materials were selected. The stacked stone for the wall complements the hearthstone beautifully. LED lights were incorporated to the display shelves and add drama to this now sophisticated focal wall. A new sectional creates a very comfortable conversational area. The sublime view of the Puget Sound and the Vashon Ferry makes the contractors’ work much more enjoyable!
Next the Kitchen
We had half a slab of Antartide left. The existing island in the kitchen was three awkward levels. We changed the layout to make a longer bar top for more comfortable seating and easier access for the chef. The remnant was perfect for the new bar top. The West wall of the kitchen prep area was cramped so we created more counter space. An under counter microwave drawer and a revised upper cabinet design allowed for a more spacious and functional work area. The sink and faucet were also replaced. A new color scheme and painting the cabinets brightened the space.
Next the Dysfunctional Desk
Enough said for many existing desk areas in today’s kitchens. Tearing it out and retrofitting the area with a wine cooler made perfect sense.
Integrating classic and natural materials such as linen, natural fir, and soapstone create textural interest achieving a relaxed and whimsical ambience. Capturing the spirit of the client, the sea shells are the heart of this home lending to its beach-y aesthetic. The abstract artwork lends a polished contemporary vibe. As the homeowner wrote to me: “All the shells were handpicked on the beach in front by my Mom. She washed each shell and carefully arranged them in glass vases. She did this over a period of 15+ years. We spent a huge amount of that time together on the beach. Thank you so much for suggesting I fill the shelves with them! Not only does it look fantastic but it warms my heart with memories of my Mom every time I look at them.”
One feels a sense of happiness and joy in this home. Last but not least Henry ties it all together!