My new book, “Salvage Style” has just been released by Sterling Publishing.. The subject is decorating with recycled and reclaimed materials. For the second time I partnered with Country Living Magazine. The first book with Country Living was Aged To Perfect. Salvage Style is filled with photographs and interviews with homeowners all over the country who are passionate about recycling and repurposing material and objects to infuse their homes with character. Read More
I love designing wedding invitation plates. Most of them are 10-inches square, but lately I’ve been expanding to platters. Most are 16×20 inches because the invitations are getting larger and there are so many activities with printed programs included. Also, more and more, couples are creating little booklets of events, names of everyone in the wedding party as well as cute maps, “save the date” cards, and lots of other printed material. And then there’s the shower invitation that I usually put on the back.
This was the weekend for taking stock. The weather is turning slightly away from ultra muggy to bearable. I’ve actually gotten out my duvet cover and turned off the overhead fans. What I overlooked all summer is now glaring: the tiny spot on my white linen slipcovers, the one unlined drawer in the kitchen cabinet that drives me crazy because I ran out of lining paper just a strip short of finishing the job in the spring, and the stair treads that need to be repainted every year.
A fall arrangement of dried flowers, orange snooker balls in a wooden trough (found in a second’s store), a painting by Nantucket artist Paul LaPaglia and a burnt orange painted folk art table from Spouter Gallery add a touch of fall color scheme to my living room. The reindeer candle holder from a yard sale is a year ‘round staple and has a twin on another table.
My summer clothes all need washing and put into plastic containers or clothes bags – go into a box to be sent to Key West in January. Why is it that every white t-shirt has a stain or spot I didn’t detect all summer? Everything in my house is assessed to see what should be replaced, refurbished, or is okay for another season.
All this “stock taking” precipitated an imminent off-island trip to the big city of Hyannis on the Cape. I hate to admit it, but all my basic needs can be fulfilled in this place where they have a Home Goods, a Dollar store, a K-Mart, a T.J. Max and Marshalls. In other words – I’m discount deprived.
I’ve always been attracted to Outsider Art; self taught art by undiscovered raw talent. It is naive, often made by prisoners, the insane, poor, indigent, disables, black, reclusive, and by people living marginally, on the fringe of society. It has become a term to describe “different” from the expected, mainstream and acceptable. An example might be two small drawings hanging in the Whitney Museum. It is by a self taught artist named James Castle and they were drawn with the artist’s mix of soot and saliva as he had no money for, nor access to, traditional art supplies. Usually outsider art is surprising, leaving us with questions, wanting to know more about the circumstances under which the artist lives and creates, or did live, if no longer alive. We are more generous about acceptance when we learn that the art was born out of raw talent produced under dire circumstances. It tells us how compelling it was for the artist to express him or herself. And this fact alone makes us want to embrace the art. Further it is affordable and therefore accessible to everyday appreciators with limited funds. At least it always was
But lately I’m distressed to find “outside” coming “inside” so to speak.
I’ve been home for three weeks and it’s hard to re-enter what I refer to as my real life. As I do my errands, shopping at the Stop and Shop, the post office, bank, etc. I bump into people who have their own tales of woe about this past winter. Mostly they survived and seem a little shell-shocked. – not quite believing that the worst is over. I’ve decided that “How was your winter?” is not a good way to greet people.
Many folks were able to get away for a brief respite from the relenting weather. What started out as a novelty, a time to hunker down and enjoy being at home, turned into “enough all ready!” by the third big storm. Coming back when it’s all over seems a bit like cheating. My property doesn’t look too bad and miracle of miracles our car started right up when we turned the key in the ignition.
Now I too am embracing the spring and with it a new book launch is about to happen. This is the hard part of my work. The planning, the execution of it, is what I enjoy. Promoting a book, planning talks and coordinating book signings is harder. All my writer friends agree. We are used to being behind the scenes. We are cowardly, hiding behind our names printed on the jacket of our books. Coming out, so to speak, is a bit harder. Talking about a book is always fun because it’s a chance to share the experience of how it was created, and a chance to relive that experience. I’ll be sitting at a table for the Nantucket Book Festival on June 20. On the 19th at 2:00 in the library park I’ll be talking about how this particular book came about.. Producing a book is an exciting project and, I am often asked how I find the houses for my style books and how we go about planning the photographs and interviews and all the behind the scenes tidbits. In July Terry and I will present a slide show in the Great Hall. Two of the articles featured in the first two issues of Nantucket Today magazine are on cottages included in the book.
I put this in the category of dreaming of summer. I know. I’m rushing the season. But this is such a beautiful oasis in one of my favorite Key West homes that I have to share. And while the palm trees aren’t found in Nantucket this casual porch scene could be anywhere.
Bamboo furniture is hot again. I’m not sure if it ever went out of style but it’s sturdy but light, care free maintenance and good looking. It can be left outdoors and if you cover the cushions with Sunbrella or another weather resistant fabric its pretty durable for our weather.
The thing I like are the playful retro accessories. The homeowner collects early sand pails with delightful illustrations on them. She buys them on eBay. The old time radio is another artifact from the past, retrofitted to work.. Even the lamp made of bamboo spokes was an eBay find. I love a table lamp in an outdoor room. Turns it into a real living room feeling.
Last week I wrote about staging a home. The motivation for this might be a desire to rent or sell your home. Then again, it’s a fun winter project. We have no control over the weather. But we do have control over our nest. AND, changing your interior can give you a lift. Think spring! Yes it’s cold and snowy outside, but it can be spring inside.
I was helping a friend style a huge loft-like apartment for sale when I wrote my last blog “STAGING”. With very little money I was able to make this cold space look a bit lived in. The idea was simply to suggest how it might be used. So here’s what we did.
The other day I was thinking about colors that change our mood, in particular pink. Pink comes in so many shades. It’s such a happy color. So many products rely on color as their reason for existing. Think lipstick and of course, paint. Cars could be all black and white and still sell, But – would you buy a box of black and white crayons? Would you be happy to wear black and white all your life? There’s an entire industry of “professionals” who create shades of color for products and a slew more that make up the names. What a cool job!.
While natural textures and shades of white are soothing, most people need color to be happy. Even those with all white rooms eventually add colorful paintings and accessories.
The absence of color is really hard to accept in an interior design, but it’s extremely difficult to keep this way. Color creeps into our spaces whether we want it to or not. Most people want flowers in their home. Floral fabrics or paintings dominate and create a pretty room. It’s as simple as that. I like my dose of flowers to come from the real thing. But most people don’t find this a satisfying quotient of “flower power.”