Dining Room-III

  • May 27, 2010 4:55 pm

Although the dining room has very little priority in terms of immediate decoration, I am finding it very easy to nail exactly my direction for finishes and fabrics.  Sadly, too easy because I love the process of decorating so much that I long for the choices to be a bit more of a challenge!

So-Back to this old picture.  What started to make the whole design self-evident, and almost inevitable, was the discovery of the perfect wallpaper to use in the frieze that wraps around the room above the paneled molding.  The molding will be painted a perfect creamy white with some luster to it.

Lorca’s Gattopardo Wallpaper in black is dense and tactile due to its being flocked. The slightly metallic charcoal of the ground is a perfect foil to the velvety flock.

I puzzled a bit about the treatment for the ceiling.  I always knew it should be black but how?  Another smaller patterned black wallpaper?  I’m going to simplify the whole matter by painting the ceiling, beams and all with a black metallic paint from Modern Masters Metallic paint collection. There are a couple of charcoals they carry that seem to be washed in mica; not sure if the glitter will show up as mica on the ceiling but a bit of glint will do.

The swinging door that connects the dining room and the kitchen (top photo on left) will be padded and covered with a metallic/poly fabric by Anzea, a fabric company that makes the most delicious faux fabrics.

Linette in Silver Silver, by Anzea

As a decorative touch it would be lovely to put a push plate on the door in a brass finish to echo the silver and gold finishes of the Valerie Wade lamp.

I could drone on about the about the furniture and curtains etc. but I suspect my readers’ patience for  the dining room is probably quite exhausted.  I’ll be back in a few weeks with the rest of the decisions.


Dining Room-II

  • May 25, 2010 4:16 pm

View I

View 2

As one can deduce from photos in the previous post and this one the dining room requires a discerning eye to see past the now firmly jettisoned wallpaper( ick! see View 2)  and 70’s Victorian sconces stuck into the classic molding. Ideas have been flooding in and this is what I’ve determined I would like to do to.

I had long admired a huge silver painted ornate mirror at a friends’ house nearby.  They have since moved and that mirror has been stored for a long time, too big to fit their new house.  In my mind’s eye that mirror was HUGE and when I asked if the mirror was for sale I suffered a bit of agita while I waited to hear the dimensions.  But my particular house god was smiling on me that day and the mirror turned out to be the exact width of the mantel and height, well, that was perfect too as it will reach all the way to the ceiling.  But now, there’s the problem of the molding protruding above the mantel, see in particular View I on the left.  My contractor figured out the that molding could be nicely recycled and fit the top portion of the missing molding on the wall (again see View I).   Amazing !

That patched up wall closed up a former sun porch;  the newly enclosed breakfast room is on the other side.

Back to another architectural detail and another look at the southern end of the dining room:

That big radiator is going to be deleted thanks to the soon to be installed radiant heat. This will allow a French door leading to the outside in place of the middle window.


This beauty was found at a wonderful reclamation resource,  Olde Good Things,  the source for my apothecary cabinets.  They were able to come up with a single door that was high and wide enough for the space.  And why would I want to do this?  I think it will give the dining room a greater feeling of openness, and a graciousness, as if the room were flinging it’s arm out to the great outdoors.


The Dining Room-It’s a Start

  • May 23, 2010 4:46 pm

Let’s just start out by saying—I LOVE this lamp!

So what is it and where is it from?  The lamp is from the Lotus lamp collection carried by Valerie Wade,  a fantastic antique lighting and furniture store on the Fulham Road in London’s Chelsea.  These are made for her and this beauty measures 37.5″ by 35″.  It’s meant as a sconce but I see it as an incredible ceiling lamp.

This is where I am going to put it…

-where that bulb is sticking out of the beamed ceiling.

And that middle window?  That’s to become a French door.

Much dining room tk (to come).

Our Daughters, Our Selves

  • May 19, 2010 4:53 pm

Even though my daughter is a thoroughly independent young adult with a  job and apartment I still harbor the idea of having her around as much as possible.  Towards that end I’ll attempt to lure her with food and a lovely room overlooking the swimming pool.  And feeding this fantasy is a bit of Our Daughters, Ourselves-making the room as an IDEA of a daughter’s room, a daughter’s room say from between the wars in a comfortable English house.  Something for us both (yeah, who am I kidding?!!!).  Her room and my son’s room have been carved out of a larger space to fit in the new bathroom between them, the bathroom of the Ming green sink and toilet.  The rooms are now identical in size with a hallway that opens left to her room, right to my son’s and center to the bathroom.  A  sweet little Jack and Jill situation.

Swan Lake


I’m going to paper the walls with a new Nina Campbell paper called Swan Lake.  I fell in love with it in this particular hue.  Thrillingly, there is a companion fabric; how’s THAT for a fabulous nostalgic look. On both the paper and fabric the silver color (look closely at the trees) are actually metallic; on the fabric the silver has even a glittery look.  I love how the pattern is reeking of nostalgia but has a sly modernity to it.

I’ll be using a turn of the century white painted faux Louis bed that I bought for $25.00 in the 70’s and a couple of assorted  vintage tables I’ve picked for their splendid shapes and wonderful white painted finishes.

There are also two cool old chairs, one dating from my childhood, a real Little Miss Muffet slipper chair and the other another white faux Louis piece ( so beloved by Ogden Codman, Edith Wharton, and ME).  To view the best of this charming species of furniture  take a tour of the cottages in Newport, R.I.  The  bedrooms are filled with great examples. Somehow they speak to the fancy French side of things with a distinct cottage accent. Lastly there will by an item that’s always included in both my and my daughter’s decor, a dressing table.  When she was a small child I loved the fact that she called her dressing table her “beauty desk”.

Beauty desk plus Louis and Little Miss Muffett chair

So where to use that matching fabric?  Not sure I want to smother the room with matchy/ matchy.  But the beauty desk could surely look fab with billowy curtains of Swan Lake.  I also love the idea of valances on the three wide windows in her new room, so old-fashioned but yet could  catch what Nina Campbell did so remarkably well with her Swan Lake pattern, tweaking the frumpy with a wink.

A word about Mr. Right, the Gentleman in the Parlor

  • May 15, 2010 5:26 pm

Detail from a Chinese Reverse Painted Mirror from the Art from Antiques Collection by Susanne K. Williams

My adorable husband  shall be called Mr. Right unless he forgets his Faustian bargain with me, and then, perhaps, he shall become, for a very brief while, Mr. Not Quite Always Right.  I  look forward to making his  home office as dark and booklined and handsome as a gentleman’s club in Pall Mall. But for the library I’d like to create an alternate vision : I’m thinking black as the predominant color with touches of turquoise, teal, orange and green inspired by this divine detail taken from a 19th century Chinese reverse-painted mirror. I can already see his green leather reading chair and ottoman ready by the fire at one end of the room, and a projection screen set up for countless comfortable hours of Netflix viewing.   A small wet bar cum refrigerator is in the plans. It’s only what he deserves.

Indoor Plumbing

  • May 14, 2010 2:41 pm

Recently, on a beautiful spring day I visited Walter Parker at his shop in a converted schoolhouse in Dudley, Mass.  Walter is a prodigious enthusiast, plumber, and collector extraordinaire of old plumbing fixtures.  A visit extended itself into a three hour show and tell and tutorial on his fixtures in his shop, which included every kind of sink, toilet, faucet, shower, towel rods, and gas stoves. We clambered up to an attic chockablock treasures and into dark crawl spaces, all filled to the gills with tempting stuff.  I asked him about finding some fittings for my kitchen sink-I have in mind a faucet, a filtered water tap and also a spray and he conjured up a variety of magical old faucets that could be customized and adapted to the various uses.  For instance for the spray he produced a lovely curved neck faucet and then found an original piece of black rubber hose and a selection of exquisite old spray nozzles.

One to be converted to spraying, the other for filtered water

I also fell in love with a  1920’s sink and toilet colored in what he called “Ming” green, a perfect cloudy green forming a sort of demi-parure.  I’d love to use them for the bathroom we’re constructing between my childrens’ two bedrooms.  The sink even has the original Ming green faucets.

Demi Parure

There was an intriguing wood and galvanized metal garden sink that I thought could work for the laundry room and also a selection of inexpensive marble topped sinks to set upon another vast collection of decorative sink brackets.

Rare Rib Cage Shower

And then, on the dearer side, are the major pieces, possible thoughts for the master bath, and and all too possibly only in my dreams.

Thoroughly Talented Neisha

  • May 11, 2010 2:37 pm

For those of you who have never encountered the wallpapers and fabrics of Neisha Crosland you’re in for a treat.  I stumbled upon her store, then in one of the nether pockets of design that seem to be planted around London. She could only be English;  you could say that there’s a bit of a 20’s influence, perhaps some nod to the 40’s or even to the 60’sbut really she’s a true English designer, galloping off to her own delightful drum roll.

I just love English design in all its forms and all its eras:  there’s almost always hints of irony, informality, a carelessness, a drunken quality of design in free fall that is beholden to no one.  So different from our American dogged adherence to good taste.

Good taste in the US sometimes seems to have become another acolyte of fundamentalist religion.  Austerity, uninformed adherence, and a herd mentality seems to deform our design sense.

To the left are some of the Mauny wallpapers I’m considering.  First contender is the teal parrot paper but I’m starting to lean towards the green parrot with the mauve background.  I like the possibilities of using that wonderful green.  Pictured below is Neisha’s Moire Lurex which in person looks metallic silver with flashes of green.  Might be quite interesting covering the seats and backs of these 50’s Thonet-like chairs.


The scheme would be too sick-making ( I quote Evelyn Waugh) if the fabric were really this green.


More examples of Neisha’s unabashed aesthetic:

Hand-Painted Silk

Upstairs Library

  • May 8, 2010 2:35 pm

Definitely, not yet, a pretty picture

At One End
And at the Other End

These were two small bedrooms, one hogging the fireplace.  With great good fortune the engineer discovered  that the stars were aligned and that the beams were running in a propitious manner.  It was no big deal to tear down the long wall between them to create a long elegant rectangle of a room.

On the left side of the right photo I’ll put the sectional sofa I had made some years ago for lallygagging about while we watch TV and I’ve determined that we’ll have a projection TV system with as big a screen as feasible for the geometries of the room, possibly  using simply and elegantly a piece of canvas applied to the wall as the screen.

On the other side of the room, lying languidly in front of the fire in the picture on the left  I’ve settled a beautiful long chaise I’ve had by a triple window in our current master bedroom. I love the idea of covering it with Designers Guild’s Maitland Nabucco, a velvet with a cut pile in the pattern of alligator.  The colors are a dream of lushness.  Hard to choose…maybe mix the black and the lime green.

The Long Chaise

Long Chaise

Designers Guild Maitland Nabucco-Too Beautiful to Make a Choice


Adding to the my fantasy mix is a Victorian ceramic mantel that could be a devastating coup-or not.  How would it look to substitute that big beefsteak of an existing mantel with this?

Simply Irresistable?


Shiny pitch black enamel paint walls and bookcases, a great backdrop for all this?


NB-To all those lovers of over-the-topness with high notes of post modern cool- get to know the work of Tricia Guild, the brilliant designer behind Designers Guild.

Breakfast Room

  • May 6, 2010 2:42 pm

Aren’t we lucky to have this lovely  place for a breakfast room?   The exposure is a perfect Southeast.  The casement windows long to be opened in warm weather.  Attracting birds is in order.

Search and destroy a wall on one side now occupied by dispiriting pantry shelves and close up a space leading to the dining room

and there will be a small room which will create a light-filled T shape with the kitchen. It’s quite a skinny little room so one needs to think carefully about scaling the table and chairs to make the room feel as expansive as possible  and comfortable to move around it.  I am strongly considering taking out the radiators here, as well as in the dining room and kitchen and installing radiant heat. It will release precious floor space (banish those radiators and their ridiculous covers) and provide that delicious enveloping heat only radiant floor heat can provide.

And it’s just above the basement! Easy peasy access.

I have been holding on to an Edwardian rise and fall lamp that a client didn’t want-a gain for me. Adding a flimsy silk “curtain it will resemble this:

Or perhaps a cottony fringe will look the best, the old-fashioned kind that doesn’t have that nasty acrylic sheen that so many modern fringes have.  I prefer the dry look.

Mauny Wallpaper for breakfast room

There is, most fortuitously, a flowering magnolia right outside.

Elegaic Magnolia

New Look

  • May 4, 2010 4:29 pm

A new look for an old house;  cobwebs gone…

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