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.