Wednesday, March 30, 2011

An Italian home in Umbria is restored with passion.

Italy just may be my favorite place in the world, particularly Rome. But as I start to plan my third trip back I am hoping to venture outside of the major cities (so far I've been to Venice, Florence, Verona, and Rome) and experience the smaller villages, in the Tuscan and Umbrian regions.

When I was reading this month's Elle Decor article about an Italian who restored and  meticulously furnished a 16th-century Umbrian palazzo I couldn't help but smile....he is sooooooo Italian!

"I have a passion for furnishings, design, antiques, architecture, and painting," Antonello Radi will tell you. He will then go on to tell you he also has a passion for carpets, he loves his native land of Umbria, and he loves the sea.

Oh and he loves the beautiful...and he loves living!

He might be passionate about many things, but he is also really talented. His home is absolutely beautiful.

Italians sure do know how to live. Radi says "The quality of life here is very high, simple but very beautiful." Sign me up!!!! A little more research on the Umbrian region...

(According to The region of Umbria, Italy, is known as the "green heart" of the country. On a map of Italy, you can find Umbria in the mid-calf area of its knee-high­ boot. To the northwest, Umbria borders ­Tuscany, which holds its own as a center for food, tourism and wine making. But if you're wary of tourists and want to avoid the mainstream, just head southeast to Umbria. Sit back, relax and enjoy the sights and scents of one of Italy's smallest regions.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dorothy Draper continues to inspire--PS the Dwell Draper Rug is back!

Do you remember the Dwell Draper Rug (named after Dorothy Draper) I was crushing on back here and here that immediately sold out? Well I just got word from Dwell that it is back in stock!

$200 for a 5x8 Dwell rug...can't beat that.

If I wasn't saving up for a new basement floor, this love would be under my dining room table before Ryan could say "Heather please stop buying things online...we don't need another rug."
Check out Dwell's persimmon/cream rug in action here:


Just who is Dorothy Draper you ask?

(According to Born to a wealthy and privileged family in 1889, Dorothy Draper was the first to “professionalize” the interior design industry by establishing, in 1923, the first interior design company in the United States, something that until then was unheard of, and also at a time when it was considered daring for a woman to go into business for herself.

In her day, her name was synonymous with decorating. She gave decorating advice in her regular column for Good Housekeeping Magazine, designed fabric lines for Schumacher, furniture for Ficks Reed, Heritage and, other than her hotel and restaurant decors, she also designed theaters, department stores, commercial establishments, private corporate offices, the interiors of jet planes, and automobiles – on top of her residential designs for the houses and apartments of prominent and very wealthy society figures.

She used vibrant, “splashy” colors in never-before-seen combinations, such as aubergine and pink with a “splash” of chartreuse and a touch of turquoise blue, or, one of her favorite combinations - “dull” white and “shiny” black.

Much of her work survives to this day, in the lobbies of apartment buildings, hotels (The Carlyle in New York and Hampshire House until recently) and of course, the legendary Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, specifically in The Victorian Writing Room – once called the most photographed room in the United States).

The Garden Gallery
The Greenbrier Hotel, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Here is one of Dorothy Draper's designs from the 1940's from 1stDibs:

And as I was researching Dorothy Draper, I came across this magnificent DIY project where Nancy from Marcus design took this plain jane Ikea Rast dresser from drab to fab, in true Dorothy Draper form!



Genius! This might be one of the most amazing transformations I've ever seen! This dresser was $39.99 from Ikea!!! Read how Nancy created this Dorothy Draper-inspired DIY project here.

Monday, March 28, 2011

DIY: Making Custom Sized Mats for Frames

Happy Monday!

I had such an amazing weekend filled with great dinners, friends, family, some exercise, shopping, an Apple iPad...and a lazy Sunday. Doesn't get much better than that!

I wasn't as productive around the house as I wanted to be,  but I did manage to do a small project and get started on my wall gallery!

Remember when I did a post on these great ocean life drawings, on dictionary paper from The DreameryStudio I purchased for my basement, well I decided to frame them finally. Only one thing, they were a weird size, and if I used the standard 8x10 mat the drawings would get cut off. So I set off to make my own...

First I bought three inexpensive frames (third frame not pictured) from Michael's on clearance for $2.99

Next, I bought some dark slate linen craft paper from Michael's at $0.69 per sheet.

Then I cut the craft paper to the size of my frame:
Next, I decided how wide I wanted my mat to be. After measuring the exact size of the drawings, I chose to make my mat 1.25 inches around. I drew a border and then used an exacto knife and ruler to make cut my mat straight.
Look how great the slate mat's look inside my cheap Michael's frames! And by creating a custom sized mat, I didn't have to sacrifice any of my drawings!

I put one frame on our shelf. (NOTE: this became the coral frame because 1 of the 3 exactly-the-same frames ended up being smaller once we hung it on the wall?!?!)
And the other two on this blank wall.

Super easy! I plan on making a couple custom mats for my gallery wall. I think a patterned mat would look cool.

Speaking of my gallery wall, here is a sneak peek. So far we have gathered all of the extra frames we had lying around our house to make it as eclectic as possible. Then we evaluated and decided what type of frames we still needed...these included the various shapes such as the oval frame in the top right, and the small sizes scattered throughout. Do you see that super ugly frame on the right? The frame is actually beautiful, it's the weird manila paper sans mat that is brutal to look at. This is where I think I'll make a burlap mat. I'll save the patterned mats for the smaller frames. (NOTE: if you are switching out mats and not creating a custom size, no need to measure. Simply trace your mat onto your paper and then cut.)

Have a great week.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Wall Gallery--I've got my eye on you!

Happy Friday!

Here are some random thoughts to start your weekend off with :) I know I promised some tabletop styling this week, but too many great posts popped up. Look out for styling tips next week.

First, I purchased this linen table runner for two last weekend at CB2. What a great idea! For those of us who only have 2 at the table, this is the perfect piece! This also could work for smaller dining tables, when typical runners are too long and end up in the laps of your dinner guests. Although I bought mine with the intent to add some sophistication to Ryan and my TV dinner dates, it works even better as a true runner on our smaller table in the basement.

Next, In honor of my weekend project to hang my wall gallery...

I wanted to share a very cool site, Red Bubble (thanks for the tip Cara), where you can purchase everything from t-shirts to stickers, but it's the wall art that is super impressive!

I will also hopefully be spray painting my side table, from this previous post black. And I'm on the hunt for one more lamp for my basement.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Home Tour: Heather's French Provincial meets Hollywood Regency.

Let me start off by saying how lucky I feel to have so many creative, kind, and wonderful girlfriends. I really believe these friendships make me a stronger and happier girl!

Last Sunday my girlfriend Brie and I (+ our hubbies) went over to our other girlfriend Heather's house for a "European Sunday" dinner. The food, drink, conversation was absolutely fabulous...but Brie and I could not stop wandering around Heather's recently decorated was beyond!

So while the men were talking sports and business, and Heather was preparing our feast, Brie and I were snapping photos of the whole house--well Brie was snapping photos (thanks Brie!)...I was art directing :)

Heather's style is very French Provincial meets Hollywood Regency.

I picture Marilyn Monroe living here in the 1950's. Heather is fearless, and flawless, in her personal style...and it really comes across in her home too! (I also have to give kudos to her husband Denis who supports her bold decor choices...ahuum Ryan are you listening? :)

If you can believe it, Heather does most of her home shopping online. She consistently browses sites such as Horchow (hallway chandelier) and Etsy (plantation shutters) for fabulous finds!

But what Heather is most famous for in our her gift for finding amazing pieces on Ebay! Some of Heather's infamous finds include her dining room table, ghost chairs, headboard, armoire...the list goes on. Amazing!