1 - 06 - 2012
We actually built the home we are now lucky to call home a few years ago…but we didn’t build it for ourselves – we built it as our first and one and only spec house. We sold the house very quickly to a wonderful client – but after a few years the house came on the market for sale…and with a twist of fate we became the lucky buyers.
Having built the house only a few years ago, there was nothing that needed to be done to the house, but we didn’t build it for ourselves, so now that we owned it we decided we had to put our personal stamp on our house. We knew immediately of the small changes we could make to the house to give it our design stamp. Anders being from Sweden and my many travels there has provided infinite inspiration and appreciation for the Gustavian style – which is actually a beautiful blend of Swedish and French country elements.
We troweled on the softest blue on our walls and painted the woodwork one of my favorite Farrow & Ball colors – Elephant’s Breath. A couple of buying trips to Round Top, Texas provided the resources to replace all of the lighting in the house with European antiques – mostly Swedish.
Our kitchen updated just with a softer palette of color, beautiful lighting and special hardware. We found the antique cow panels in Round Top, and we both thought they would be beautiful incorporated into a vent hood. I love them in this spot.
The biggest change we made to the master bathroom was to change the color of the woodwork to a softer patina gray with silver leaf accents, and we replaced the beige travertine stone to carerra marble – lots of subway tile…The mirrors over the vanity are Swedish and fabulous!
Our living room is just the right size for the way we live and entertain. We built the mirror using antique Swedish architectural elements we purchased from A. Tyner Antiques a few years ago, it is the perfect scale for our two-story space.
Happy Gardening -
All My Best -
2 - 03 - 2011
Anders and I are truly blessed when we work with a client who has a uniquely wonderful style and knows how to put their personality stamp on their home, and at the same time being an absolute delight to work with.
This particular project was very interesting for us because it was not at all our typical project. Often when we do a major renovation to a home, we are working with a home that is at least 35- years or old. This home was only 7 years old, but it definitely had several design and aesthetic issues, and the floor plan was not at all optimal for the way our client lives in their home.
Our main goals for this project were to create additional living space without adding additional square footage to the home, create a more open and unified floor plan, and add architectural interest and significance with a new color palette to all of the spaces. If you have followed our design blogs you have seen the wonderful blogs posted by our energetic and talented colleague Whitney as she chronicled the different stages of this project….we thought you might like to see a final post.
We actually swapped the location of the dining room – we thought it would be wonderful to have the fireplace in the dining room….of course today it really isn’t a room – because we took away all of the walls that once divided these previous spaces. The carved panels above the fireplace are the most outstanding wood carvings we have ever used….after we built the bar, the opposite side of the room needed some more weight….the use of these panels definitely accomplished that…we finished the panels in one of my favorite colors by Farrow & Ball – Pigeon - with lots of silver leaf and layers of different glazes. What a backdrop for that red Buddha and the fabulous 18th century wooden candelabras.
We thought it made more sense to have a sitting room next to the bar…so that’s where we moved it – next to the Grand Piano which now sits in an entirely different place as well. The bar is truly exquisite…I cannot believe our clients actually trusted us to take two fabulous antique pieces and literally chop them apart….our vision was to create a bar area that would become a focal point for the space – be beautiful enough to be seen when you entered in the front door, and look like something we salvaged out of an old European hotel. Anders is still waiting for the first martini but we know that’s coming soon.
You know that I’m working my way to the kitchen … and in this house the new kitchen is truly the heart of the home. What was once a very small and impersonal kitchen is now twice as big as its former footprint, and is dripping with too many details to mention and all of the functionality that any cook could wish for. The two islands were a special find….old French pastry tables. We left them untouched except where we built in lots of appliances and added the stone tops. When we first found them and our curiosity forced us to open the steel doors they aroma of chocolate came wafting out….how could we resist….we said “these are the two islands” …. And here they are!
We really try to make every refrigerator and freezer look unique yet fit the style of the kitchen. We had the space to go up high so I thought the cubbies for the baskets would just offer more storage…and how about the antique French mirror on the doors – love to use this in a room with no windows to capture the light reflecting around the space. The terra cotta pipe was incorporated around the wine refrigeration to offer more wine storage – but I also wanted to incorporate the terra cotta element into the space. It is amazing how this pipe keeps the red wine the perfect temperature.
The cobalt blue Ilve range set the tone for the kitchen – so we knew the vent hood had to be fab! We have never worked with corbels this size – ginormous! The antique iron backsplash was also a special find – 18th century from France. We built the entire vent hood out of various architectural elements – guaranteed uniqueness!
Why didn’t we have sinks like this when our kids were babies? This sink is so functional…the lower cabinet doors were a design I came up with because my client love some carved panels we found for her….I decided to use all of them to create her doors and drawers with. The overdoor above the sink was a fun find on a buying trip…Anders thought it would be perfect above the sink on the curved wall. We used honey onyx on all of the walls in the kitchen….cut into diamonds.
The kitchen is much more open to the breakfast room now – but again these aren’t rooms just open spaces styled and fitted to the new spaces. This hutch was equal to the French pastry tables in the “must have” factor. When we saw this piece which is actually quite large we just had to have it…..it is very old and was taken out of a farmhouse in France. It is a rustic piece – the bins look like they were used to store grains – heck there were holes in the back of the hutches….I could just see chickens laying their eggs in this piece – but I don’t really think so. The glass is original and very wavy – beautiful! This piece is used not only for every day dishes, but large serving pieces, and my client’s cook books. The urns on top are French reproductions….need some more!
We added the wood paneling to all of these spaces to gain the rich intimacy we get with wood – the kind of feeling you just can’t get from drywall or sheetrock. I used the color Old White from the Farrow & Ball line of colors…it is the perfect color palette for the house - we used it everywhere on the doors and trim throughout the house, this combined with the buff colored tucco finish on the walls is soft, and forgiving - with a life of its own. We brought in reclaimed beams from an old barn in Missouri and the mantle is also a creation using massive architectural elements. The andirons are the best we have ever seen, and purchased on a buying trip with our client.
Our client asked for a spa-like bathroom using soft colors….after a complete reconfiguration of the space this is the new bathroom. I limited the color palette in this room to only 3 colors….celadon green, a medium blue and a soft white.
A dreamy bedroom – now twice as big – again through the elimination of walls and windows to get a better floorplan for furniture. I used the antique Swedish herbariums from Swedish Dekor to build the TV cabinet and bi-fold screen – want the TV – just don’t want to see it when it’s not being used.
This project from start to finish was truly a labor of love and excitement. This Spring I will post a blog about the outdoor spaces…stay tuned…our first Koi pond will be unveiled.
Happy Gardening -
All My Best -
4 - 12 - 2010
Accessorizing your home is fun – and for many of us a life-long hobby – layers of details are often what separate a home that looks like it was staged by a “decorator” and the home that evokes your passion and personality.
It’s always so much easier to design a beautiful and interesting interior if you have wonderful accessories to work with. I put a small table in the entry of this home to help anchor this space and create interest as you walk into the front door of the home. Pairing the beautiful old wooden candlesticks with the antique mercury glass jars is a nice mix of texture – especially when you add the fresh flowers to the jars. Adding the white coral for one more texture and shape completed the look.
In the same home I needed something large to anchor my client’s over-sized and fabulous coffee table. We found this antique bell jar at an antique fair with an old round mirror under it – I just filled it with different colors and shapes of coral and sea shells. The addition of the antique marble grapes (which you can never have too many of) and the silver tray with a few more items completes this setting. Did I mention how much fun it is to throw in the Chinese calligraphy brushes?
This French sideboard was refinished with a great neutral from the Farrow & Ball color deck – Savage Ground, I also added French Gray and plenty of antiqued silver leaf – then added a new top out of Carerra marble. The sconces are special and from the early 18th century – French of course. The large silver tray in the middle of the setting houses several silver candlesticks, jars and fresh flowers.
This was an old (beat up a little) but nice end table from Bausman – it was crying out for a little more personality so I refinished it in one of my “go-to” Farrow & Ball colors – Light Gray – and finished it off with some antiqued gold leaf and lots of distressing. After this was done the table was ready for a special antique Swedish toy horse and a lovely antique Swedish lamp. A shell box, antique marble grapes and a fresh Ivy topiary add extra life to the setting. I often hang a piece of art lower than one might expect when I can place it behind a lamp and over a table.
This coffee table came to life when I added this antique Swedish wooden crown to the setting. My clients collect these incredible statues carved from bronze and ivory. They are sculpted by D.H. Chiparus 1886-1947 – and are called “Cherries” and “The Rose” they are some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in such a small package. I can’t tell if they are smiling at each other or that cool crown.
Whenever I see old wooden cherubs or religious figures I try and pick them up if they aren’t too expensive (which they have become). I paired an old one with a newer reproduction below both under an incredible 18th century French candle bracket – I like this look.
Coffee tables are fun to accessorize – in this setting I put a very large bowl from Fortunata and just filled it with the Scandinavian magazines and several Chinese calligraphy brushes. The really large piece of coral sits on two coffee table books about Monet – one of the books is Swedish. Never forget the importance of fresh flowers in your home. As small as this silver mint julep cup is – once filled with a simple bouquet of flowers it brings the whole setting to life – it adds a special sparkle that only fresh flowers can deliver.
Sometimes I will use unexpected things in unexpected places. This old French sideboard was given a new personality when it was refinished with Castle Gray – a favorite color from Farrow & Ball. This particular piece got an extra dose of antiqued silver leaf to give it a little extra pizzazz. I used two Antique Majolica Cheese Domes and a gray wooden tray with 3 white amaryllis in clay pots. Look at the colors in the Majolica and in the painting – I think I got lucky here….amazing.
Believe it or not this beautiful drop leaf chest is from the Black Forest. In its’ former life, it was dark – nearly black and very serious - a little stuffy. Of course I just flipped through my favorite paint deck from Farrow & Ball, and knowing how beautiful the color Pigeon turns out with our special layers – I just went for it….lots of antiqued silver leaf – this is the outcome. Now it can handle the whimsy of the oversized wooden rabbit and green jars.
When in doubt you can never go wrong with fresh flowers or fruit. Sometimes when you are working with a really special and unique piece – less is more. In this setting the hero is the antique Swedish Apothecary chest this is juxtaposed with a flat screen TV above it. I just used a beautiful white dish from Jan Barboglio, and filled it with fresh oranges.
What does your home say about you? Do you have some great accessorizing ideas you use in your home? Please send them in! We would love to see them and share them with our readers.
Happy Gardening -
All My Best -