Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Haunting!

Happy Halloween my friends!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Top Design Swarovski Chandelier Challenge

Top Design finalists: Preston Lee, Ondine Karady and Nathan Preston

We're down to the three finalists on Bravo's Top Design - have you been watching? I think the best three contenders have made it to the finals. And, I totally hope that Jeff Lewis is asked to be a permanent judge!

Meanwhile, just a little reminder that we're running a fantastic design challenge over at Blogging Top Design. In Episode 8, the designers created rooms around some pretty spectacular Swarovski Crystal chandeliers from their Crystal Palace collection.

The challenge is to create an inspiration board on how you would design a room around one of the same chandi's used in the challenge. I created a quick mood board above using Polyvore - a free service that's so easy to use! You can gather images from around the web and use their own collection of images and pull them together into a really beautiful board!

If you're artistically inclined - you could draw or paint your room design. Or, do it the old fashioned way and cut out pics and glue them to a poster board and take photo. Whatever works for you!

Our celebrity guest judge is Margaret Russell - editor in chief of Elle Decor and Top Design judge.

The winner will receive a signed copy of Margaret's book So Chic and also some sparkly goodness from Swarovski!

The deadline is Friday, November 7th - one week to go!

Click here for all the details.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Martha does Bats!

click on image to enlarge

My good friend Brian Lies' book "Bats at the Library" was featured as a "Good Thing" on Martha Stewarts' show today! Martha made Brian's bat craft on air and showed illustrations from the book. Everybody in the audience got a copy of the book. She even had her designers make a string of bats reading Martha's new cookbook! The episode will be rebroacast tomorrow in various markets. In Boston area it will be 9:00 AM on WLNE the ABC affiliate out of Providence.

I posted about the book a couple of months ago when it was released. Brian's artwork is AMAZING in it's detail and his writing style poetic and witty.

Click here for more.

Buy the book:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Travel Tuesday: Haunted Hotels

This week, in honor of All Soul's Day, we're visiting some pretty spectacular haunted hotels.

This Halloween, the
Brown Palace Hotel is offering special tours of the popular historical haunt. From Oct. 1-31, 2008, the complimentary*, 45-minute tours will take place Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m. The hotel’s historian will lead wide-eyed guests on a tour through some of The Brown’s more hair-raising hauntings, telling tales of mysterious sightings and disturbances from its past. One story on the tour takes place in Ellyngton’s restaurant. Prior to the restaurant being renamed Ellyngton’s, it was known as the San Marco Room, home to big bands and later, the San Marco Strings. One evening, a houseman went to investigate sounds coming from the dining room. Upon entering he discovered a quartet of formally dressed musicians practicing their music. The houseman was not amused as it was long past closing time. “You’re not supposed to be in here,” he said. They replied, “Oh, don’t worry about us. We live here.”

The Mount Washington Hotel was built in 1902 a show of the wealth owner Joseph Stickney had amassed through his investments in coal mining and the Pennsylvania Railroad. His widow, Caroline, who owned the property at the time of her death, is said to be seen sitting on the edge of a bed, brushing her hair. Read more here.

Legend has it that a curse was laid on the Popham family - male heirs would die out - at Hunstrete House, a country house hotel near Bristol, England. True or false, this happened and Hunstrete twice passed to nephews through the female line. In one of the bedrooms a presence has been felt and objects rearranged.

So, the question is:

Media Talk: Timber Homes Illustrated

A big thanks to Janice Brewster at Timber Homes Illustrated for including a piece about my designer goods buying service, InsiDEcor.

Click on images for larger view.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I drove by this old home today while visiting my parents on Cape Cod and just loved the Halloween decorations! I've never seen anything quite as eye catching before. I'll admit it - not a big Halloween fan. Oh - I love the kiddies in costumes, I love the taste testing each candy brand to be sure they are all ok to give to the kiddies in costumes, but that's pretty much it. I don't generally get around to decorating myself. It could be that I'm not a fan of the color palette (looks good on trees, not on my door!). It could also be that I don't like mums or any kind of dried arrangements. I know, I'm a bit of a humbug. However, I do get a kick out of thes intriguing items:

I love this Spider Web chandelier in theory - but since I am scared to death of spiders, it wouldn't work in practice. (shudder, shudder...)

I posted about these Crystal Skulls by Fabian Baron from Swarovski's Crystal Palace collection a couple of weeks ago. Pretty great for Halloween!

How "once upon a midnight dreary..." are these Rococco Plates from Chiasso?

The Gashlycrumb Tinies: or, After the Outing is a book written by Edward Gorey that was first published in 1963. Gorey tells the tale of 26 children (each representing a letter of the alphabet) and their untimely demise in rhyming dactylic couplets, such as "A is for Amy who fell down the stairs. B is for Basil assaulted by bears."

I am loving these Mortimer Bust candles from Urban Materials and Accessories? They're meant to melt in strange and messy ways.

Are you dressing up yourself or your house for Halloween this year?

Why am I into purple all of a sudden?

From Designers Guild

I've never been into purples or lavenders. And now, all of a sudden, I am completely attracted to these colors! Has this every happened to you?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hooked On Houses House Tour

Welcome to the New England stop on Julia's Hooked on Houses house tour!

Duxbury is a small coastal town that was founded in the early 1600's. Among our first settlers was John and Priscilla Alden. And this is their house:

Here's another image - which I took last year at an event. The gentleman in gray below is Academy Award winning author Chris Cooper, who lives nearby!

Here's a typical old home - small windows and all! The old growth plantings are very special.

Duxbury was a big shipping capital up until the early/mid 19th century, when ships grew too large for our harbor. We have many homes dating up to that era when money was flowing in, but once the shipping industry died down, the town went through a depression. The interesting architectural result of this is that we have many Colonial, Federal and Greek Revival homes, we don't have many Victorian's, as no one had the money to build new homes for quite a long time. And, the original homes weren't remodeled to look more current, so many retained their architectural integrity. Here are a couple of my favorites. The first is Federal and the second is Greek Revival.

Here is our most famous house in town. A shipping magnate and one of American's first millionairs, Ezra Weston, followed by his son, was known as King Caesar by the locals. This house was built in 1807.

Every year, the Duxbury Historical Society hosts a Christmas decorator house tour, which I participated in for several years.

Here's the dining room that I decorated in 2005. Here's the East Parlor that I did in 2003. Note the wallpaper is original handpainted paper imported from Paris when the house was built.
Here was a little vignette of a children's tea party that I created.

From a magazine photo shoot in 2005, the front hall and west parlor (not my work)
I believe that this house below is quite old, but has been added onto several times over the years. I love this house below for it's incredible grounds and for being yellow. I love a yellow house!

Here are some newer homes. When I was in high school and college, I cleaned homes as a summer job. This was one of my houses.

As was this:
The following house is relatively new - about 15 years old. The house is currently on the market. I worked with the homeowner to get it ready for sale. It's a very special house and was custom built for the owners. It's pretty spectacular, but there is a totally adorable tiny house on the property that I so wanted to move into. Unfortunately, I don't have pics of that house!

California meets New England coastline:
Music Room:

Family Room:Amazing gourmet kitchen:

The dining room was totally empty. Since the homeowner didn't want to buy a large dining room set to fill the space just for the sale, I came up with the idea of creating a music room/dining salon feel. And the living room:

Thanks for visiting my stop on the Hooked On Houses tour. And thanks for this great idea, Julia!