A powder room or half bath is one of the places frequented by your guests – they may never see your bedroom, but your living spaces and powder room, absolutely! And because this is such a small space, decorating it beautifully doesn’t need to break the bank.Read More
Frustrated with her dark and dated kitchen, our client knew it was time for an overhaul. Traveling extensively for her job, and short on time, she wanted her kitchen to be a welcome retreat for cooking, not an exercise in perseverance when she was home.
The first step to change is identifying the problem, and this kitchen had severalRead More
Sharing a peek at a project in progress....
We are almost done with the first phase of this redecorating project at a charming vacation home in a private beach neighborhood on Cape Cod. After years of living with a "living room" space that didn't ever get used, the homeowner tasked us with creating a comfortable space that would be inviting.Read More
Gallery walls are among our favorite projects. While, when poorly executed, they can be chaotic, when done well they can help make a house into a uniquely personal, welcoming home.
We recently were approached by a man for help in doing a gallery wall as a surprise anniversary gift for his wife ... what a WONDERFUL and creative idea! We were delighted to be a part of it. It was a long distance project and time sensitive so we agreed to provide photo selection, frame specifications, gallery layout design, and step by step hanging instructions for him to execute himself.
The first step was for him to send us pictures and measurements for the walls we might use, and the furniture we would be working around. Below is one of the pictures of the room we began work from.
He also sent us a digital file of possible photo choices for the gallery ... we selected an assortment that represented the family well and arranged them for optimal viewing - some we cropped for better composition or photo-edited to remove old camera date stamps before they were printed.
Once the arrangement and sizing was set, we selected frames that complimented each other and the images. Having differing frame styles and mat styles is important to keep the look of the finished wall interesting, but they still need to have common elements that make them work together ... in this case, color.
We generated a complete package for him to use including: a numbered list of prints with the sizes to order and the updated digital files; a list of frames, mats, and sizes with ordering specifications for where to buy them; a detailed computer generated image of the wall showing placement for specific images and frame styles; as well as measured instructions and tips for hanging.
As a last minute addition, he realized he needed an additional group shot of the other side of the family, so we subbed in a new photo of the children and moved the two family group shots around the corner to extend the gallery onto the next wall. Serendipitously, he pointed out that this made it 20 photos for their 20th anniversary!
Miraculously, even in a household with 4 children, he managed to pull off the surprise and his wife was overjoyed with such a thoughtful and unique gift. He wrote to thank us profusely and tell us all the anecdotes of nearly being discovered, missteps in printing and assembly, and feverishly hanging right down to the wire - reading like a script right out of reality TV! Below are some pictures he sent us of the finished installation ...
and Happy Anniversary!
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when planning a gallery wall:
- Select pictures with good lighting (they will be viewed from a distance) and good composition.
- For pictures that will be hung high on a wall (like over a door or window frame) or printed in a smaller size, choose images that are close-ups. Save the group shots for closer to eye level and for larger size prints.
- Size frames for the scale of the wall - for most gallery walls, the smallest frame should be no less than 8" x 10" for it to not look too cluttered with tiny pictures.
- Vary the sizes and orientations of the pictures for interest.
- Mats give photos some breathing room so we recommend using them - exception: canvas gallery wraps can be a nice addition mixed into a gallery wall.
- Custom framing is always beautiful and perfectly suited for the images - we use this most often for antique family pics because it also preserves them with acid free mats and conservation glass. Ready made frames are a cost effective way to do a wall with contemporary prints and give you the flexibility to change the images if the mood strikes.
- Choose a variety of carefully curated frame styles when planning your gallery wall composition and repeat them in different areas of the wall.
- Plan the arrangement on paper and/or on the floor before you start...it is much easier to rearrange BEFORE you start putting holes in the wall.
- Add picture wire or sawtooth hardware to the back of ready made frames to make hanging easier - those little triangle hooks are a nightmare!
- Begin hanging near the center of the gallery and work out.
- Level each picture and use a bit of poster putty on the back corner to hold it in place as you hang it - this keeps it in place so you can hang the next picture in proper relation to it.
A gallery wall is a great addition to any home!
It was past time ... this sunny and spacious master bedroom had been beautifully crafted in a feminine periwinkle, rose and green palette starring a jacobean floral chintz and embellished with ruffles and bows, with periwinkle paint and wall-to-wall cut pile wool carpet ... but that was 20-something years ago and the fabrics and style were showing their age.
Here are some 'before' pictures ... you may remember this era...Mario Buatta, "The Prince of Chintz" was inspiring beautiful, detailed and embellished floral interiors and this one was right on trend at the time.
While they had loved the room for over two decades, the clients were ready for a change that reflected a more current, simpler look and inspired more of a retreat-like feeling. The space has a lot going for it - it is ample in size with vaulted ceilings and an abundance of natural light from a pair of skylights, a large arched window and two additional windows.
We selected a sophisticated neutral color scheme of taupe, grey, and white. A textured taupe wool carpet covers the floor and taupe paint wraps the walls. A new bronze toned metal headboard, black console table, and new French linen grey painted nightstand chests anchor the space and pair well with the existing walnut dressers and dark mahogany armoire. Fabrics were selected for varying texture and pattern to keep the neutral color palette anything but boring.
A Custom tailored dust skirt and flanged shams of this textured stripe, were paired with pin tucked silk euro shams and a white matelasse coverlet and shams with scalloped edges.
And the wing chair was slipcovered in this helical stripe woven with window treatments in an embroidered linen organic pattern featuring leafy vines in shades of taupe, grey, and beige.
The window treatments were simplified on the arched window to a graceful pair of goblet pleat panels with understated covered buttons at the base of each pleat - hung from a custom iron rod and rings with a painted French silver finish.
There are still a few details to complete - the nightstands are on order, the artwork is pending selection, and the wicker chaise awaits a final transformation with a coat of black paint,
but the main elements are in place and the occupants could not be happier...
...even the pets!
Sometimes a small change can have a big impact.
Rearranging the contents of this deep built-in china cabinet to showcase some of the home owners favorite things was on our list of projects this week. Armed with a variety of easels and stands, we set to work!
This client has an extensive collection of china, silver, and crystal pieces – some family heirlooms – like the silver pitcher she grew up pouring her milk from for breakfast each morning, and others collected over the years. She had a china cabinet full of pieces and had brought more of her favorites out of storage and gathered them on the table for our perusal.
We remembered to take the 'before' picture below after we had already emptied the bottom shelf of myriad small teacups, salts, and little crystal dishes and had just started setting it up with the gorgeous cobalt china tea set. The top two shelves contained symmetrically arranged china all lined up in rows, and the third shelf contained a lovely collection of demitasse cups, but such small scale items on such a deep shelf made it hard to appreciate them.
The trim in this dining room and thus on the exterior of the china cabinet is a rich warm gumwood and the interior is painted – soon to be re-painted with interior side and back walls in a metallic leaf finish - can't wait to see it completed!
The new contents of the china cabinet echo the rich colors in the oriental carpet on the floor with its cobalt blues, aqua greens and rich coral tones.
Carefully editing the contents, varying the heights, standing plates and trays as backdrops, and distributing the finishes and shapes for balance give the new cabinet arrangement a more curated look.
Best of all, our client is delighted to have some of her favorite treasures beautifully displayed!
Sometimes, updating your space doesn't mean starting from scratch. When one of our favorite clients called us about updating the look in her well-used family room, we knew just what to do.
This was one of the first spaces we tackled 15 years ago when we began working on this lovely antique colonial with the homeowners. At the time, we selected the paint colors, designed the window coverings and specified the furnishings, rug, and lamps.
The original arrangement (shown above) worked well, but after 15 years of daily use, the homeowner was ready for a refresh.
We kept the paint colors, window treatments, and lamps. Antique pine case goods and distressed finish tables still worked well but we opted to update the upholstery beginning with a new, more transitional styled sofa in a high performance fabric that would stand up to snuggling with the grandchildren.
The solid wool sisal rug was exchanged for a patterned, more contemporary style area rug, and the chairs and ottomans were recovered in luscious textures and friendly stripes that echo the colors in the rug.
Now all the generations of the family can enjoy the new space for years to come!
January is a time of change - new year, new resolutions, a perfect time for a fresh start.
The holiday decorations are all packed up and put away, but before you mindlessly arrange your stuff the way it was before you shifted it to accommodate the season, think about ways to give your home a fresh start as well. Rethink furniture placement. Eliminate clutter. Organize your space so it works efficiently for you and it is comfortable and a pleasure to live in. Easier said than done? Totally!
Here is a new year's resolution challenge for you - don't keep something just because...use this opportunity to challenge the status quo. William Morris said, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.". This famous quote is a great measuring stick to use to determine what stays and what goes. Don't waste your money trying to buy things to go with a piece of furniture, paint color, or floor covering that you hate in the hope that they will somehow help you hate it less. Buy what gives you joy.
We had a client who called us in to rescue her master bedroom suite - she liked some things about it (much of her furniture, her custom bedding and window treatments, her collection of jadeware and artwork), hated others (the oppressiveness of the wall color, the rug, the uncomfortable loveseat).
We recommended some pillows and a rug in patterns that would pull together the golds and burgundies in her bedding and valances with the jade in her accessories, a lighter, but still warm, paint color, a pair of comfortable chairs and ottoman for a useable lounging spot by the fireplace, and simple re-arrangement of artwork and accessories. She was excited by our suggestions and delighted with the outcome!
New rug ...
Pillow and upholstery fabrics ...
Rearrangement of the artwork and accessories ... and voila! A fresh new space that is comfortable, functional, and distinctive with just a few key changes!
Look at your home with new eyes and decide what about it you need to change and what gives you joy!