Archive | November, 2012

Russian Chintz

Early 20th century Russian floral textile

A casualty of the Russian Revolution and the Cold War, these vibrantly colored fabrics remain little known even today.

I first encountered Russian-made floral, paisley and striped fabrics from the early 20th century on the pages of a magazine. I was immediately drawn to the full blown rose motifs I also adore on Bessarabian (Russo-Romanian) rugs. Essentially, these fabulous fabrics are a Russian version of chintz (though not glazed). During the early 1900s, they were inexpensive and made in these especially vibrant colorways for export to Central Asia. Today they are collector’s items and the images are a sampling from the book Russian Textiles: Printed Cloth from the Bazaars of Central Asia, by Susan Meller (Abrams, $35).… Continue Reading


It Is Beginning To Look Like Christmas

deer statue glazed with stain from Wisteria catalog

My latest holiday decor find online.

The scents of a fresh-cut tree and cinnamon-laced pinecones are my holiday triggers – in a good and bad way.  Allergies cause many of us to use faux greenery. Luckily, artificial trees and garlands have come a long way and alternative materials are always an option.  A few weeks ago, a cotton boll garland was featured in Natural Home Decor.  My intent was to use the garlands on my vintage Christmas mantel, but I ended up making a wreath for the den.  I still haven’t decided whether or not to use it year round, but it’s always an option. … Continue Reading


Quaint Alcove Desk

enclosed back porch alcove desk area with fabric skirt from BH&G

An enclosed back porch offers the perfect spot for a close by, but out of the way, command central.

This underused alcove, just off the kitchen, was turned into an office by adding a desk top and shelves.  Mounting shelves higher than the norm creates more space so heads are not bumped.  Clip boards, covered boxes and a framed magnet board help keep things organized.  A fabric skirt adds pattern and color while concealing storage.  The vintage glass acorn fixture oozes charm.  Large windows offer plenty of natural light and views each season – a lovely excuse to take a break.… Continue Reading


Stone Wall Kitchens

stonewall kitchens - modern kitchen with stone walls

Old-house stone walls add patina and character to modern kitchens.

When we lived in Italy I fell in love with the old stone walls in the ancient houses and marveled at how modern fixtures and features mixed in. Stone always adds a certain degree of rusticity yet at the same time it dominates. So in a way stonewall kitchens are work for contemporary spaces because the organic color tends to soften flat modern lines.

What I mean by stone dominating is clear in the minimalistic kitchen [top] that barely intrudes on the room. With the small window smack in the center of the main wall and a sizeable radiator near the door, options are fairly limited.… Continue Reading


Built-in Bunk Beds

custom built-in bunk beds by Resort Custom Homes

Custom bunks accommodate without sacrificing comfort.

Bunk beds aren’t just for vacation homes anymore.  They are perfect for large or blended families, and don’t forget visiting grandchildren.  These sleeping quarters provide a feeling of comfort and add a bit of adventure.  Painting the area a darker color (SW Warm Stone) sets it apart from the rest of the room while creating a cocoon effect, yet the bottom of the upper bunk is matched to the wall and ceiling color to keep the lower bed dweller from feeling too closed in.  Each sleeping space has its own narrow recessed shelves, outdoor sconce and, thanks to their own window, a view of the great outdoors. … Continue Reading


Boho Spirit Rooms

yellow paint decorated entry in an antique building

Identifying an interior style is often subject to interpretation.

When artists and designers create looks that are fanciful and offbeat, boho (short for Bohemian) is a catchall term that fits. The boho walls I wrote about back in August had a more informal look that this trio, fished from Pinterest where such eccentric rooms have an avid fan base. Of course, it’s the flamboyant images that count — chief among them (and most attainable) the Zoffany Verdure wallpaper [top] by Melissa White a fantasy forest scene inspired by a late 17th century wallcloth.  For me, the meandering colors and shapes writ large on the wall have a marvelous dreamy quality that transports the mid-century furniture and lighting, even the noteworthy 2011 polypropylene Masters chairs by Philippe Starck for Kartell, which Allison also has posted about.… Continue Reading