Saturday, August 22, 2009

One of my favorite bloggers, Brooke from Velvet & Linen answered the questions of House Beautiful's Color Personality Color Quiz. Since I still can't get my scanner to work, I thought I'd do the same.

1. What's the first color you see in the morning?
The red and white toile print that's on the windows and duvet cover.

2. What color are your eyes?
Hazel--mix of light brown and olive green.

3. What color do you wear the most?
Black. Blue if you include jeans.

4. What color do you never wear?
Yellow. It makes me look like the "before" picture on a tooth-whitening ad.

5. What color do you wear when you want to feel sexy?
I feel sexy when I'm naked, so I guess that means I wear something flesh-colored, accessorized by cellulite. And an orgasm.

6. What color gets you the most compliments?
Pale celadon green. A friend of mine came up to me at a party once when I was wearing a pale celery green dress and ordered me never to wear any other color.

7. What color is your lipstick?
Revlon: a my-lips-but-better shade called Smoky Rose.

8. What color was your living room growing up?
I grew up in a big Queen Anne house with a wrap-around screened porch. The porch made the living room dark, but my mother went for cozy and did the walls in dark green seagrass "paper." Woodwork was pale Wedgwood green. The floor was a mostly dark red antique Oriental rug. I can't remember the curtains ... I think they were gold. Furniture was a mixture of antiques and repro upholstered pieces. Brass fireplace accesories. Old racing prints in antique gold frames.

Jesus, it sounds like a funeral parlor.

9. What color was your bedroom growing up?
I loved my bedroom! The wallpaper was sprigs of violets, like the old Henri Bendel shopping bags. The floor was carpeted in the dark green of the leaves, and the woodwork and some of the painted furniture were painted pale lavender.

10. What color are your sheets?
White trimmed with little red embroidered circles from Pottery Barn. I love how crisp they feel.

I don't like that monogram, though.

11. What color was your favorite crayon as a child?
I can't remember which one I loved, but I remember hating, loathing, and despising "Burnt Sienna."

12. What color is your car? One is a pale green VW passat, and the other is a greige Toyota Sienna. (Not Burnt.)

13. What color was your prom dress?
I went to a very, very small all-girl school, and we didn't have a prom. Really. I'm not a couldn't-get-a-date-to-the-prom loser. We also didn't have driver's ed.

14. What is your favorite gemstone?
Emeralds, rubies, amethysts. And diamonds, because diamonds are just so wearable. They go with everything. Like pearls! Only flashier.

15. What's your favorite flower?
Roses. If I had my choice, I'd get rid of most of the trees in my yard, rip up the lawn, and just grow roses. Old-fashioned, hybrid tea, climbing, miniatures--I love them all.

16. What color makes you happy?
Pale pink. I love it in roses, kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, living rooms, clothes, towels, dishes, men's button-down shirts ... it always looks good.

17. What color depresses you?
Avocado green and harvest gold both remind me of the worst excesses of the 1970s. They're the polyester pantsuit of colors. Want proof?

Living room, part twa.

That last one is the "Before" picture of a house I actually own. So I know what I'm talking about when I say Harvest Gold is horrible.

18. What color calms you?
Tiffany blue. Especially when it's a box with a present inside.

19. What color makes your teeth grind?
Other than Harvest Gold? Bright tomato red. I love red, but orangey reds are horrible.

20. What color would you like to try but are afraid to?
Celery green all over the downstairs of my house. I love it, but it would be too obvious that I'm just trying to flatter my complexion and take 10 years off my face.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Greetings from Merrye Olde Englande

Just so you know, I'm in the land of mellow Cotswold stone, Tudor half-timbering, and the Georgian originals that Americans have been copying for the last 250 years.

But that doesn't mean I'm not thinking about modern style.

Today I found the greatest book--Living Retro by Andrew Weaving. I really wanted it, but my suitcase is already overweight, so I wasn't going to buy Yet Another Oversized Book About Decorating.

Instead, I whipped out the iPhone and took pictures of the cover and a couple of layouts. Check it out.

Living Retro

I love the symmetry, the colors, the statement accessories ... love the contrast between big, splashy Hollywood Regency accessories and the big oversize stone fireplace and slanted ranch-y roof.

sample layout from Living Retro

On the left, I love the combination of the fireplace with the chairs, and the green walls on the right are wonderful.

another sample layout from Living retro

Retro without that telltale thrift shop aroma. I'm ordering Living Retro from Amazon when I get home.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

How will I be able to blog about domino when I'm obviously such a GRANNY

Before I get back to discussing domino magazine (and I will) I thought I'd show you what I've been up to: meeting with a decorator and buying a new camera.

I had a decorator come to help me with my living room, which has been driving me crazy for years. It's the room in my house that most reminds me of a child--lovable, interesting, quirky, and murderously difficult.

Now that I can upload pictures (click to embiggen) you can see what I'm dealing with.

what you see when you walk in

A bunch of things make it difficult. First of all, the walls are all taken up with windows, arches, and French doors.

windows, radiators, french doors, oh my

Also the windows have radiators under them, so floor-length curtains don't work.

And the fireplace takes up a lot of space with its built-ins cupboards and shelves.

fireplace and mantel 2

Also, it's hideous.

All the furniture has to float. There's no place to put a sofa, except in a small L-shaped extension that leads to the sun room.

Arch from living room to "family room"

Living room looking towards dining room
The two little spaces on either side of this doorway are the only plain wall space in the room.

So. I was looking for ideas for new upholstered pieces and window treatments. Right now I'm making do with rummage sale chairs and loveseats, and leftover balloon shades from our old place in the city.

It was really time for a re-do.

Now, everyone says to start with the rug, because it's easier to bring fabrics and paint colors to a rug than vice versa. Well, I think I spent four months shopping for a new living room rug. I shopped Restoration Hardware, Home Decorator's, Pottery Barn, Ballard Design, and Horchow.

Here's what I learned: be very careful when rug-shopping by catalog. You end up with huge rolled up rugs that need to be returned.

I finally found a rug in a nearby store. My husband really loved it, so we ordered it. We didn't get a standard size, and it took eight months to be made and shipped. So the other thing I learned? If you like oriental rugs, shop for an antique. They have the advantage of being already made.

I must say, the fabric the ladies picked for the boards certainly work with the rug, which is cream, olive green, browned-down rose, chocolate brown, with a tiny amount of slate blue.

Swatches 2

Swatches 1

Thibault Tea House sample
The decorator's shop window was papered in this chintz ... Thibault's Tea House in chocolate brown colorway. I love Chinoiserie! It may be why I hired them.

Now, as you can see, anything would be an improvement from the current situation.

But my granny pants are in a knot over the fabrics and trim that have been selected for my approval. Granted I'm not a 20-something stylist living in a studio apartment in Manhattan ... but somehow ... I'm getting a whiff of mothballs.

Am I right?

Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm love sick ... and not for the first time ... with Restoration Hardware

OK, internet, I love computers. Computers are what brought us together. But I also hate them. I want to get going on some posts inspired by domino, but I'm trying to use my scanner, and it isn't on speaking terms with my laptop.

Instead, I'll talk about these chairs from Restoration Hardware, which I am just sick in love with:

I love everything about these. They're like something out of a 1930s movie--quietly glamorous. The graceful lines, the button tufting! They'd be perfect in a pearly textured pale leather with tons of nailhead trim. Wouldn't they? Witty and elegant. Like Carole Lombard, if she were a chair. Sigh.

Unfortunately, I don't need them. Even though they're on sale.

On the other hand, I do need black chairs for my eat-in kitchen. I'm ordering a pedestal table with a black granite top, and in distressed black, these chairs would work with it.

And they're on sale, too, $240 marked down to $169.99, with an extra 10 percent off if you use the RCTD709 coupon code.

So I just ordered them. Even though they're more Kate Hepburn than Carole Lombard.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

the domino manifesto--and a Declaration of Independence

OK, today I'm going to start working my way slowly through my entire run of domino magazines. And opening the Spring/Summer 2005 issue, what do I find but a full page photograph of a piece of domino stationery with the following manifesto hand-written on it:


-- We swear by the 3 R's: repaint, repaper, reupholster

-- Steal ideas from other people's houses

-- Even the insides of closets & cabinets can be beautiful

-- It's OK to NOT BE finished


-- a chandelier is as timeless as a black dress

-- Renters need not be second class citizens

-- sometimes your mistakes become your greatest inspirations

(louis xiv & Eero Saarinen should hang out more often)

-- When traveling -- skip the snapshot & buy something unique for the coffee table


Wonderful advice! And strangely familiar. After all, our Dorothy (Draper, silly!) began 1939's Decorating is Fun with "A Declaration of Independence." And much of Draper's advice is echoed in the domino's manifesto, leading me to think that the spirit of domino was around when the magazine was just a gleam in Conde Nast's eye. And that makes me believe that that spirit will continue.

Check out what Dorothy Draper had to say:

Almost everyone believes that there is something deep and mysterious about [interior decoration] or that you have to know all sorts of complicated details about periods before you can lift a finger. Well, you don't.

This is a book about how to have a good time decorating. If you want to be grim and serious about it don't read another word, for what I have to say is not for you. I don't believe there is any rule in the game that can't be broken.
... you need not be awed by the learned ones. You can spin your own web and make it very beautiful indeed.
Your home is the backdrop of your life, whether it is a palace or a one-room apartment. It should be honestly your own--an expression of your personality. So many people stick timidly to the often uninspired conventional ideas or follow some expert's methods slavishly. Either way they they are more or less living in someone else's house.
You need courage to experiment, courage to seek out your own taste and express it, courage to disregard stereotyped ideas and try out your own.
Don't be in the least disturbed by trends or fashions, or anyone else's advice. They are probably wrong. Be critical--never humble.
Clear fresh splashes of color can do more for a room than any other one thing.
Plan your room for the people who live in it.
Decoration can't be divorced from living or it's not sound decoration.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In which I become the Dominotrix

Internet, you'll never guess what foolishness I'm indulging in at the moment. It's insane.

Remember Domino magazine? Of course you do. It was Lucky for interior decorating.

I was never in love with Domino the way some of you were. Like Lucky, it frequently went off the deep end of quirky. And sometimes an entire issue would leave me cold.

But, as with Lucky, one magazine gave me instant access to super-cool secret insider sources. All of a sudden it was easy to find out how to get my mitts on great stuff. I didn't have to climb into a time machine, become 23 years old, move to New York, and get a magazine internship to do it. I could make all those underpaid 23 year old interns do it for me.

So when Domino stopped publishing, I mourned a little bit. And bought the Domino decorating book. But that just frustrated me. After all, a book can't provide the same kind of source information that a magazine can.

So I did what I always do in these cases; I went mental. I bought the entire run of Domino, from the Spring/Summer 2005 to March, 2009.

Right now, I plan to read through every issue and bask in the quirkiness. I'm also going to go through it methodically, and when I see something that looks great, I'll check out the website.

And then ... well, I haven't figured out what comes next. I plan to do something about what I find out, like post the link, or write up a separate entry for each source--I haven't figured it out yet. But for the time being, I'd like this blog to become one-stop shopping for Domino-flavored interiors ... as filtered through my admittedly preppy, traditional aesthetic.