Monday, January 23, 2012

Front Door Decor

On January 2nd, while some continued to nurse hangovers, I tasked myself with taking down all our holiday decorations. Having spent Thanksgiving in New York this year, I had experienced nearly 40 days of Christmas. By day two of 2012 I was ready to store the ornaments and window candles and toss the dry pine sprigs and holly.  However, it was harder to take down my traditional boxwood wreath that was still green and had held elegantly held court on our front door since the first week of December.  A bit reluctantly, it too found it's way to the trash can.  For the next few days I would pull into our driveway and my eyes would fall on the naked wooden door, reminded that holiday cheer had seemingly evaporated overnight, replaced by Outlook Calendar requests and unrealistic New Years resolutions.

Yet just when I had accepted that a wreathed front door would have to wait until next December, FedEx delivered an unexpected suprise.  A beautiful coastal arrangement by Calyx Flowers with an enclosure card from my parents wishing us a happy 2012.  It was so thoughtful and just the accessory our new home needed.  The gold and white composition of dried leaves and seashore treasures creates a beautiful contrast on the black paneling.  Norfolk has experienced a pretty drab month of overcast skies, rain, and cool temps, and my wreath provides much-needed curb appeal until the bright blooms of spring arrive.

Here are a few more pictures of front doors I like. Although I am drawn to colored front doors, we're planning to achieve that vibrant pop of color by installing two flower boxes on our downstairs windows this spring. We will fill them with ivy and colorful flowers--an ideal addition to a coastal cottage.  We spent New Year's in Charleston and took lots of pictures of the flower boxes on the beautiful historic homes for inspiration.

Coastal Living Magazine

Home Curb Appeal


Charleston Magazine

Five Star Painting

Monday, November 7, 2011

Coastal Casual Defined: Inside Coastal Living's 2011 Ultimate Beach House

Not far from my Norfolk Nest, in a new waterfront community called East Beach, Coastal Living has created their 2011 Ultimate Beach House.  It had been weeks since my October issue, featuring the showcase house on the cover, had arrived in my mailbox, and moreover it had been years since I started following designer Phoebe Howard's work.  So last Thursday I finally carved out the time to visit the masterpiece.  My friend and fellow blogger and her adorable 11 month-old joined me on the scouting adventure. 

Photo: Tria Giovan for Coastal Living

The three-story, double-decker porch exterior of the Coastal Living "Ultimate Beach House" welcomes owners home and beckons guests in.  The house's cement shingle walls are painted light aqua, complimented by the navy shutters, referencing the colors of the ocean just 100 yards away.  Walking through the front door was like stepping into a coastal oasis.  The open floor plan downstairs creates the perfect entertaining environment with the living room, dining room, and kitchen sharing a nautical design theme with crisp whites, deep blues, and pops of yellow.  The natural wood furnishings, airy linen curtains, fresh, cheerful fabrics and shiny hardware finishings draws you into each living space, inviting you to relax into a chair, sip a glass of wine, and take in the picturesque ocean views through the over- sized windows.

a good design rule is to cluster in threes (two patterns that are 
similar colors and shapes and one bold solid in a complimentary color)

white oars form a whimsical mirror in the dining room; mixing
seating styles, both in shape and material, is unexpected and memorable

the high beamed ceilings and white planked wood floors
evokes the feeling of being aboard a luxury ship

 we loved the backsplash of recycled tile in sea blue gloss, a fresh take
on the common white subway tile

again Phoebe Howard mixes seating in a family breakfast nook by
offering an L-shaped banquet in natural canvas and three
upholstered chairs with driftwood finish and over-sized nail heads

what's more beachy than decorating with flip flops?

perhaps decorating with bright beach towels...

my favorite room in the house was the first floor master bedroom from the
CIRCA Lighting bead and tassel chandelier to the upholstered
headboard to the lambrequin window treatments from Lee Jofa/Blithfield & Co. Ltd.

bleached stag's horn centered among white plates creates
a focal point above the headboard

honeycomb graphic flooring by Ann Sachs in the first floor master bath

the porch off the first floor master offers quietude and views of the ocean

I couldn't resist including my friend's adorable daughter enjoying the children's chair
(and the joy of wearing just one shoe) on the house's second floor landing
punchy pink provides a pretty pallate in the kids' room

the second floor master bedroom defines coastal casual

outdoor entertaining is essential for a beach house; this seating
area features muted metallic silver wicker and bold Sunbrella
fabric in sapphire blue

teak wood and white sling fabric set the stage for a al fresco
outdoor dining experience 
(Photo:  Tria Giovan for Coastal Living)

above the garage sits the "Carriage House," the perfect studio
apartment for weekend guests with a kitchen, pull out, bathroom,
and separate entrance

Coastal Living's Ultimate Beach House is open through November 27, 2011.  For more information on the house, the materials, and tours, visit the Coastal Living website.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fall Home-a-Rama in Southern VA

Last Thursday I drove out to resort living subdivision of The Riverfront at Harbour View in Suffolk, VA.  For two weeks (October 15-30), home builders, architects, landscape architects, interior designers, and over 150 vendors are participating in the 2011 Fall Home-a-Rama.   After paying my $8 ticket price (I received a $2 discount for wearing pink on Sentara's Get Pink day), I proceeded through the set of tents known as the "Idea Marketplace." Every attendee must walk through the exhibitor booths which has a variety of vendors selling everything from bath tubs, blinds, windows, and gutter filters, to wickless candles, hormone-free home-delivered dairy products, and high-end sewing machines.  Besides spending a few minutes chatting with a design consultant about my desire for custom closets, I moved quickly past the eager sales reps and headed for the perfectly manicured cul-de-sac of nine custom designed homes.  

While I enjoyed touring these showcase properties and exploring the latest trends in home building, I was slightly disappointed in the interior design which was the main reason I attended Home-a-Rama.  I should have known brand new houses would be filled with brand new (and what seemed to be fairly inexpensive) furnishings.  My love for vintage, antique, and eclectic collections of furniture and accessories would have me coming up short on ideas and inspiration from the homes.  I did appreciate the individual architects innovations in floor plans, spacial design, and incorporation of modern amenities in the kitchens and bathrooms.  I also really liked the livable outdoor spaces featured in many of the homes, including porches, patios, and private pools.

Here are a few of the pictures I took of exteriors and interiors I enjoyed the most.

One of my favorite houses was first on the tour,
The Justin Kauflin Charity House

I love the wide plank distressed floor stained dark with the contrasting
white skin rug in this home office space

A first floor master bedroom with over 20 foot high ceilings,
 a dark wood four poster bed, and a comfortable seating area
framed by floor to a ceiling bay window

I loved this Morroccan inspired patio

The use of various natural woods and pops of color
is very much my style

A teen bedroom on the second floor has a Southeast Asian design inspiration

I have two vintage bird cages that look like these; I love the idea of housing
an orchid within 

House #2 (Tee Time) went way too literal with the golf theme, so I didn't
find much I liked within, except for this vingette on a wall in the living room

House #5 (The Coastal Cottage)'s exterior was one of my two favorite

I love the double front porches and timeless traditional architecture

House #6 (Tranquil Living) was my other favorite exterior with its
wrap around front porch

Beautiful fall mum's in unexpected shades of lavender and magenta
look stunning with the grey and white porch

Rockers on a porch; I'm sold

I liked this arrangment of mercury glass pillars on the dining room table

Fall 2011 Home-a-rama is opened until this Sunday, October 30th.  More information can be found on the website.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice

My sister, who is only 14 months younger than me and my only sibling, is due with her first (a girl) at any moment. My niece will be a little NYC Upper East Side princess (the sweet, down-to-earth, but effortlessly chic kind, of course) as her first home address is Madison Avenue, just a block from the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Her Royal Highness will return from the hospital, wrapped in an organic cotton one-sie, and be placed in a beautiful room that sits ready for her arrival.  My sister's vision, combined with countless hours of research and contemplation, has finally become a reality with a beautiful nursery, worthy of a feature in any design magazine or blog.  The bold coral, combined with rich golds and yellows, soft creams, and a crisp white, make the nursery playful, yet sophisticated.  The dresses are pressed and hung, the diapers are folded, the pillows are fluffed...and my family is ready to meet her.

Here are some pictures of my sister's creation.

A little chick-a-dee mobile for my sister's little chick-a-dee's delight

The changing table has a removeable tray on top so it easily converts to a dresser

this upholstered chair is also a comfy glider 

a day bed for mom or dad to catch a few zzz's when the baby sleeps
(I love the Beatrix Potter bookends holding her first books)

she has a pretty monogram, of course I'm biased with an "E"

Sources:  carpet (Stark); crib and changing dresser ("Celine Collection" by Newport Cottages); crib bedding (Lulla Smith); crib corona fabric, day bed linens, and throw pillows (Lulu DK for Matouk); glider chair and ottoman (Angel Song); stuffed animals (Bla Bla and Bunnies by the Bay)
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