Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Years Resolutions!

It's finally here - the day we sit back and reflect on the past year and what we hope to accomplish in the next year. I have several plans in place for new content in ::Surroundings:: in the next year.

Including: "Get the look!" where I will show how to break down and source items to create the looks you covet. The first space will be "Versailles", inspired by the new movie "Marie Antoinette". Nothing like starting at the height of oppulence and over-the-top grandeur! Stay tuned for this post, coming soon!

One of my New Year's Resolutions is that good ole standby - clean out the closets! But, in my case, they are filled with decorator fabrics and trims. Between client overages and fabrics that I've purchased but haven't used - my house is brimming over and it's time to purge. Really, I just need to make room for new splurges. I'm working on a page on my wesbite - called Decorator's Closet Sale that will picture what I have as I dig it out. I will also post items here.

I wished to thank my sponsor Littman Bros. Lighting for their support this year, and to you, my regular readers.

Stay tuned and Happy Decorating!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Repeating motifs from West Elm

When West Elm gets into a theme, they just run with it. This motif of overlapping squares is geometric and interesting - just don't over do it. Stick to one or two at the most.

On the softer side, this bird motif is pretty and natural.

Storage Solutions for kids

I'm a big believer in the "quick cleanup". Kids stuff can get everywhere, but, the good thing is that it's easy to pick up and throw into a container, or ten, depending on how much stuff we're talking about. Here are some great ideas for the quick cleanup:

From Land of Nod:

From Pottery Barn Kids:

And, these pieces from Spacify:

With some advance preparation, there's no reason to ask your guests to step over little Suzie's toys again!

Pillow power!

From Peking Handicraft, Inc.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Zollanvari Rugs - Art underfoot!

I just love rugs and am always amazed at how intricate the patterns can be. Plus, no matter how traditional the rug - they are at home in even the most ultra modern rooms. I have the Zollanvari catalogue and have been browsing it like a coffee table artbook. It's stunning! Their website isn't as successful at showing their products, so I recommend requesting a catalogue if you're seriously in the market for a beautiful rug.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

::Top Design - Viewer's Guide - Coming Soon!

BravoTV's new reality show Top Design is starting in January. I always find it difficult to get into reality shows when I don't know the contestants. So, I am working on a viewers guide that will be ready to download by the time the first episode airs, sometime by the end of January.

To start, here is the cast by name. I'll be working on and posting individual bios of each designer, including links to their websites if available and maybe any other juicy tidbits I might find out about them. Feel free to email me or post comments if you know anything about the designers.

As they say on Bravo "watch what happens".

Friday, December 22, 2006

Holiday Wishes

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Modern Lighting and Accessories from Spaltana

From cherry woods and junipers to deer antlers and giant shells, Spaltana creates contempory, yet timeless, lighting and decorative objects that are sure to warm the home and inspire conversation!

::Holiday Madness - Easy & Elegant decorating

Fill a clear glass or crystal bowl with colorful ornaments for a sparkling and easy centerpiece. This is a Tiffany bowl that was actually a corporate service award. The logo imprinted on the bottom is hidden under the ornaments. So, don't forget that items like this can work in your decor - with a little camoflauge!

::Holiday Madness - What to do with those cards?

I find that this is the easiest way to display holiday cards. Cover a large artists canvas (available at your local arts & crafts store) with a pretty fabric. Wind florist wire or fishing line around the canvas several times and fasten in the back. And voila! An easy way to hang up cards - keeping them in view and out of the way. Fabric covered artist canvas can be used year round as artwork (sans wire) or as an alternative to the standard bulletin board or french memo board.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

I saw this in today's Boston Globe Magazine. For a gal with no fireplace - this looks pretty tantalizing. This fireplace burns bottled ethanol and requires no ventilation. This stainless steel fireplace is by Blomus. They sell a wide range of fabulous stainless steel items for living, bath and kitchen spaces.

More old homes get a new lease on life

Preservationists, slow market help reduce teardowns

By Michael Tarm, Associated Press | December 17, 2006 | THE BOSTON GLOBE

HINSDALE, Ill. -- It was a rare occurrence in a community with a national reputation for tearing down old houses: A developer bought a historic cottage but didn't bulldoze it into oblivion.
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The norm in this leafy Chicago suburb and affluent communities around the country has been to allow builders to demolish older homes to make way for far larger, far flashier houses -- dubbed "McMansions" by critics.

But a teardown tide that surged for a decade has begun to turn, largely due to a housing-market slump, but also thanks to the growing influence of preservationists.


Buy this art print here.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

It's finally here! The Chameleon House!

I found this very interesting article online about a scientist who is developing a house paint that changes color and light reflective capabilities based on outside temperature. His goal is to reduce the need for fossil fuels. Very cool, or hot, indeed! Read the article here.

Buy this artprint here.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Holiday Decorating 101: Bring out that old silver

For a simple, yet elegant, holiday decoration, bring out that old silver, shine it up (or not), and fill with natural materials such as leaves, berries or fruit. Couldn't be easier! My work is highlighted in these two photos printed in South Shore Living Magazine's Holiday Issue, 2006. From the King Caesar Holiday Decorating Tour House.

BRAVOtv: Top Design

As a huge fan of Project Runway, I am anxiously awaiting Bravo's latest show Top Design. HGTV's Design Star was pretty lame, so I'm hoping this will be better. The host and judges look promising.

But... what's up with this promo shot?? The designers look like robots waiting their marching orders. Feels like a production person said "OK - you be sexy, you be sly, you be school-marmish, you're the loon, you're the ass, you're the deer stuck in the headlights... and so on." Hmm... starting off looking very manufactured.

How Bravo TV! It's sure to be a smash! I'll be inaugurating a new weekly post about the show. Not sure yet what it will be - maybe a judging the judges, maybe an "If I were a contestant what would I have done". We'll see. Meanwhile, stay tuned!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

::Holiday Madness & Gifts Galore, Pt. 7 - To Regift or Not to Regift

Here is an interesting article on MSN money about rules of regifting.

My personal opinion is that you should never regift something that you wouldn't have purchased in the first place for that person. I think regifting is ok - it's like recycling. But, as with recycling, you have to separate your materials. I've received gifts that I like, but have no real use for, so I keep them handy to pass along. Smaller items such as soaps or lotions can be paired with other purchases, sort of a "value added" concept.

As the saying goes, it's the thought that counts. Randomly passing along something you don't like to someone else doesn't show much thought. Giving up something you do like but you know someone else will like equally or better is much more in the spirit of the season.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Holiday Madness - Call in a Professional

Valerie A. Russo, reporter for the Patriot Ledger Newspaper in Quincy, MA, included me in her article Merry Making on the value of hiring an interior decorator to deck your halls for the holidays. I also provided a list of do's and don'ts for the sidebar: Designer's Dozen.

Arrivederci - Fabulous in Firenze!

Well, all good things come to an end and so did my trip to Florence. After a great week of gelato tastings (I recommend the Nutella flavor), museums and churces and visiting with my lovely niece, it was time to say goodbye. The trip home was long (nearly 18 hours from hotel to house), but the time spent was well worth it. Run, do not walk to Florence when you plan your next vacation!


Ciao Italia - People watching at the Piazza della Repubblica

Sometimes, you just need to sit, rest your feet and watch the people stroll by. The Piazza della Repubblica was the original center of the ancient Roman military encampment. The Mercato Vecchio (Old Market) dating from the Middle Ages was demolished and in its place is the Piazza as we see it today. What I want to know is, how do those Florentine ladies wear their spike heeled shoes across these cobblestones!

Ciao Italia - The Pontevecchio

Meaning "Old Bridge", this current structure across the Arno River dates to 1334. A flood in 1333 destroyed the original wooden bridge. Filled with jewelry and gold shops today, this is one of the places to go when in Florence. Click here for more information.