The Laundry Room

  • June 21, 2010 4:44 pm

In my pre-married days I was a passionate laundress.  I learned the arcane skills of couture dressmaking and concomitant with learning how to prepare a hem and make a dart were the skills of washing fine fabrics and ironing properly.  Besides a regulation size ironing board one needed such tools as a a much smaller board for ironing collars and such and also a rounded muffin like tool for ironing shapes, such as darts in blouses.  And the art of handwashing was profoundly impressed on me.

In our almost sold house I grabbed a small closet on the second floor for the laundry room rather than putting it in the deep dark dungeon of the basement. It has a sink, nice Maytag washer and the most divine dryer, heaven for the hand laundry crowd (don’t all raise your hands).  It’s by Maytag and it’s called the Maytag Neptune Drying System.

SO not for everyone that I believe they may have discontinued it.  The bottom cabinet is a normal ole front loading dryer but the top steam cabinet-OOH LA LA!  Just look- the gentle steam heat simmers inside the cabinet and carefully dries your sweaters, baseball hats and Hanky Panky thongs. You can do two things at the same time, tumble and steam.

Also in my laundry lineup is an Ironrite Mangle #85.

For the laundry lunatics only- but how else can one iron natural fiber sheets at home, let alone those great big tablecloths?

In case you’ve been wondering about the nun praying and laundering-as I discussed the laundry room with a wonderful friend of mine she remembered a wallpaper done by an artist friend of hers named  Liz Shepherd.  I’ve contacted her and I’m hoping that her wallpaper will be the crowning touch!

A Hiatus but Work Progresses

  • June 21, 2010 3:09 pm

Moving from a large house filled with the bric and brac of the entire family’s lives from fifteen years has focused me in one gigantic way: I want to keep this new house free of the immense amount of clutter.  I feel so behind the curve! All of the disciples of Martha and Domino have been  making a mantra/style out of the religion of spareness.  Perhaps the pendulum is going to swing the other way in the next decade towards an 80’s style exuberant and flagrant plenty and as usual my personal pendulum will be swinging the opposite way!

But wait-the English have devised a way to have both, that is a disciplined and clean approach to design that allows a chaotic freedom.  I’ve absorbed some lessons from pondering English garden style.  Not all certainly, but many gardens come precisely from that style.  Observe the formal and linear hedging-there they resemble the French.  But then what do they do?  They strew the interiors with a wild abandon of flora.  The long borders display this as well.  Face to face, but never matching, they are symmetrical in layout, but divergent in plants.

Perhaps the house can have the discipline of sparseness, but pockets of free fall STUFF. My European “picture walls” with art hung according to the rhythm of patterns and colors can be interspersed with a wall with very little hanging on it, nothing showcased but itself, creating another kind of pattern.

The kitchen which has been hollowed out is all at once a different space than I could have imagined.  With the removal of an outside wall, the new interior is suddenly larger and brighter and the focus has shifted to a different kind of plan.  A plan that may very well suit itself to being spare with concentrations of personal clutter…


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).

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Visit Victoria Klein's site at victoriaklein.com

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