Monday, February 28, 2011

Jumpin on the Honeysuckle bandwagon...

For years I swore I would never 'do' pink with my decorating. I was 100 % committed to RED.Maybe it's the kinder, gentler life I'm living, or the fact that my house is now an estrogen palace...but I'm really starting to dig pink shades. Especially Pantone's 2011 color of the year for Home and Fashion : Honeysuckle.
I've had to let this one simmer a little before I could really embrace it, but after pecking around the intertubes for awhile, looking at Honeysuckle rooms, I've decided it's best to reallly EMBRACE it and go all out. Othwise it's just kind of And twee. And Paris Hilton, which...oh don't get me started.
I love the Honeysuckle kitchen cabinets, especially with the black countertops and the tiny touches of lime green. This photo is via a blog I am loving ,
I think honeysuckle works because it isn't too sweet, t's got a hint of red violet to it that makes it kind of rockstar. The photo of the cabinets completely sold me on it, and if anyone knows who is responsible for that room, please let me know so I can give credit where it's due.

How great is this honeysuckle carpet in an otherwise colorless room? I am dying over the panels at the windows with the little slices of pink between the pleats. via

I can't imagine the story board for this room, there are at least 4 different shades of pink going on here. I'd love to see more of that hot pink ceiling. Wow-what a persuasive designer, good on whomever it was! via

Alessandra Branca designed this beautiful and classic room. I think the Baskin Robbins color scheme has graduated to classic color combination status.

I'm wondering where I can inject a shot of Honeysuckle, I never thought I'd say this, but I"m thirsty for pink!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My house. What I did today.

Since I started blogging heavily ( that sounds like a medical condition!), my house has been a major disaster. Could be a coincidence, but more's that we are trying to get this house ready to sell. In my former life, my former life partner was somewhat of a hoarder, an organized one, but still...the amount of 'stuff' he left behind is insane. Today, for some reason, the bookcase was driving me batty. I decided it was time to thin down the collection, organize it and put a new spin on the whole display.
I had already painted the bookcase Sherwin Williams Grand Canal, which is about as straight up Turquoise as you can get. The inside of the bookcase was painted Sherwin Williams Camelback (aka' the boring beige').

The first thing I did was take every book off the shelf and remove all the dust covers. Then I could see the real color of the book. I organized them into piles by colors, and put the 'colored' ones in ROY G BIV order, starting with blue.

On the next shelf, I placed my daughter's collection of National Geographic magazines, and all the black books, as well as a funky ginger jar I bought about 10 years ago.
The uppermost shelf has all the white and off white books and a collection of glass paper weights.

I covered my gardening books in black and white wrapping paper, because their spines were all beat up. I got that huge Avocado green vase at I O Metro on clearance for 20.00. The urn is from Hobby Lobby, as are the grassy balls (again, a possible medical condition!) I tinkered around with this display for hours until I got it right. The addition of a chuncky, black number 4 finished it off. Sometimes it's best to just move the things around in your house, try them out in places you wouldn't have considered.

I liked the rainbow ordered books so much I did it to the DVDs too, although I have friends telling me that is NOT how your organize movies, and that it is sacrilege to have The Godfather sandwiched in between Pirates of the Caribbean and Independence Day.

Feb. 25....woke up to this blog posting at I O Metro's site.
check it out, all about arranging books.

You might notice on my rainbow shelf, a blue book with chairs on the spine. It's a re-issue of Jane Austen's Emma.
I have just started collecting these classics with awesome covers. I got mine at Niche in St. Louis, but they are available at Barnes and Noble as well.

Books are a great way to add a shot of color and culture. Have fun with it!
Via The cultivated home

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

want it, need it, have to have it!!!!

Part of the fun of blogging is just writting about whatever the heck I want to. Today, since the as yet un-named foot injury is beggggging me to sit down and shut up, I am doing a little armchair shoppin'. Window shoppin' that is.
I really want a big orange handbag. Not just because of Mike's beloved Illini either. Orange is the new neutral, I've heard, and I'm starting to believe it. Everything looked great on the walls in my orange laundry room. Now that I've painted it 'camelback', which is a fancy word for 'beige'....everything looks pretty much 'meh'.... I swear, I am going to need therapy soon, having a hard time dealing with all the newly neutral walls in my getting- ready- to- be- sold house.
These 3 selections on these 3 celebrities probably cost more than I make in a month, so ima have to wait until 'orange is the new neutral handbag' comes to Target. (via

I am CRAZY about these gift stickers from Since I try to keep a few rolls of black and white polka dot wrapping paper around at all times, these would be absolutely perfect. I wonder if it would be too vague to have this printed "Especially for your from a VanHoutan " since it's a revolving door of birthday parties around here. One of my best childhood friends is the creator of The Plaid be a dear and check out the site. It's loaded with adorable personalized paper goods.
Okay. I think we have a winner! This chevron rug is from and right now they are offering 20 % off and no shipping! Sweet!!!! In my dreams I would get a Madeleine Weinrib wool dhurrie, but in my reality I have 4 kids and 3 dogs, one of which is a yorkie, so ....yeah. Polypropylene.
Damn you La Mer and your addictive FREE SAMPLES!!!!!!! A few weeks ago, my bestie Sherry and I went to St. Louis for the day and spent at least an hour at the La Mer counter in Nieman's where Sherry managed to get a whole bunch of free stuff for the both of us. (She has mad skills!). One of those free samples was for La Mer Moisturizing cream. In the space of the last couple weeks, I have turned back into a baby zygote. Upon further investigation, I cannot afford to buy an actual jar of this.
Jonathan Adler. Potter. Genius. Must. Have. 39.99 at the

Spring is coming, followed by the best time of year, Summer!!!! In the fall and winter, I am the queen of the statement necklace, but warmer temperatures call for something lighter, that I can just put on and leave on until Labor Day. Ever since I saw a Roberto Coin tiny tiny tiny cross on a friend at a party, I have been trying to find one tiny enough to appease me. This one, at etsy, has THREE tiny crosses! I wonder if I could get her to make me one with FOUR tiny crosses? allisonwindsor1@

Now that I am staring 'sensible shoes' at eye level, I am reconsidering a collection of flats. Being a shortie, I do so love a heel. My darling boyfriend informed me last weekend that he doesn't even care if the heel is high enough to make me taller than him!!! My God, could you have sent anyone more perfect???? I think not. But I've also been sent a foot injury, so..... Anyway....this snazzy little collection here is exactly what I'm after. I feel like I've been looking for a yellow shoe for 2 years. I have a pair of yellow gladiator sandals, that I love love love, but I need a dressy flat to mix with dark denim. The sparkley silver in the middle would be so fun for date night and the print would be great to mix with other prints, like a polka dot skirt or cardigan.

Another great thing about blogging, now that I've found all these great things and included them in a blog post, I kind of feel like they're mine!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

paint that ugly sofa

Let's say you have a sofa or chair, and it has really great bones.... but it's upholstered in something really ugly...and you're on a budget and re-upholstery is either too expensive or just too tedious. Well, you can paint it! Depending on what kind of fabric you have, there are a couple of different ways to go about this, which we will discuss in a bit. First I want to inspire you with some of these great finds.

Mackenzie Childs

This chair is a combo of paint and fresh upholstery, but still so fun! via

I am CRAZY a bout the idea of just letting the kids go crazy with paint pens! And I love how this totally casual and funky sofa is in an otherwise formal room.
(You would need to paint the fabric first, directions will follow )

Most likely your great boned piece of furniture has some kind of nubby upholstery. If this is the case, you can use a specific spray paint for fabric to create this look. The underlying texture or pattern will still show through, but that could turn out to be an asset, like these chairs below. This homeowner sprayed plum fabric spray paint over a crewel fabric. Personally I think the before is great, but the colors weren't working for their decor and the chairs were FREE so, what the heck!

Jen, at Little Green Notebook , spray painted these X stools, hiding the former Granny/Santa Fe style upholsterly. They look totally chic and fresh now.

If you have a flat fabric, like chintz or cotton duck, you can actually paint the fabric with regular latex, interior paint. I have done this myself, and I have a friend who has done it as well, so trust me, it works. Use semi gloss paint and a 3 inch whizz roller. It will take multiple coats, but what you end up with is a great leathery kind of look. Over time, the paint will crack a little, but that will just add to the leather look.

Monday, February 21, 2011

My rules for "Black and White" design

black and white doesn't have to be cold....

Black and white design can be kind of tricky. Too much true black and pure white and nothing else, and you have a very cold and uninviting interior. Black rooms can be wicked awesome to look at, but remember, someone has to live there. Take it from 'she who had black ceilings' for seven years, until two weekends ago. Many of my friends asked me 'why are you painting over that?'. True, it was a very dramatic and mysterious look, especially when entertaining. But also true, very dark and depressing to live with on a daily basis. There were times in the day when we needed flashlights to get to the linen closet. Initially, I may have been revolting against my 80s pastel upbringing, but somewhere along the way I got hooked.
I don't think black and white is going's a timeless and classic combination, which explains why I have been to soooo many black and white weddings in the last 10 years.
I know I love it, I've have had some incarnation of black and white in every house I've lived in. It seems to be a 'go to' for me. I'll never tire of it,but I have learned some tricks to decorating with these two strong colors.
1. Add a green element, by way of houseplants. This cuts the harshness and softens the edges, so to speak. via
2. Inject a shot or red. Red is equal in boldness to black and white, so they are natural companions. via
3. Use 'off white' instead of white. This adds an element of softness and age.
via Kelley Interior Design Service
4. Let white dominate. Visually only about 25% of the space is taken up by black here. This creates an almost summery kind of lightness that is very pleasing. The addition of wooden accessories softens the mood too. via Elizabeth Anne Designs
5. Introduce the happy medium of gray. I think gray is the new brown, it shouldn't be too difficult to find gray accessories and objects to introduce into your interior. Yellow is a perfect counterpart to gray, add a tiny splash for visual punch. via

6. Try a focal wall in 'almost black'. Sherwin Williams 'Black Fox' is an amazing 'not quite black' color that adds a hint of warmth. via
7. Punctuate with white trim. Wide crown mould and other trims in this room keep the look crisp and formal. The addition of the turquoise chairs and detail on the drapes adds more visual excitement. via

8. Throw in another bright chartreuse....

or green...... designer, Sarah Richardson
or Tiffany blue and hot pink! designer, Judith Balis
9. Try stripes! I love these stripes and I love the way they also go across the front of the desk. Filing this idea away for later! via

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fun Things in Frames

via designer Eddie Ross

I had a great visit tonight with a friend who has a wonderful stationery shop in my hometown. Being in her shop, surrounded by a plethora of custom party invitations, wedding programs and birth announcements, made me really want to finish up a project idea I've been sitting on for some time now. It also really made me want to get married, but that's a whole 'nother story.

In addition to having 4 beautiful daughters, I have 4 beautiful Christening gowns, each of them as different as the baby girl who wore it. I'd like to shadow box frame each gown with a fancy schmancy birth announcement for each girl. I picked ( or rather, my friend picked...cause she's the expert!) a beautiful monogramed announcement with a pale pink damask pattern in the background. Once I get her all the info for each girl, she will be ready to print. I'm so excited! Can't wait!

Hobby Lobby has shadowbox frames that at regular price are kind of pricey, but since they are at Hobby Lobby, if a person is patient, can be bought for half of that pricey price.

This idea got me thinking about other things that can be framed for highly personal, relatively inexpensive and FUN! art. I have never been 'in' to scrapbooking. I find it expensive and time consuming just to cut up a photo and put a bunch of crunchy stuff around it. If that's your gig, power to you, but for me..."Ms. Instant Gratification"...I'd rather shove my memories in a frame. Voila!

Childhood keepsakes are collaged together to create a cheerful
focal point. Choosing items in a primary color scheme keeps the look crisp, not crazy.


I love this idea! I'm sorry I don't have the original photo source on this or the story behind it, but for a game night loving family, this would make a great gift!

In artist Darcy Miller's home, an entire focal wall is made up of shadowbox framed mementos. Keeping the frames all white unifies the look and creates an architectural feel. A close up follows. Via

Speaking of keeping things unified.... Funny how the black mattes and frames give an almost contemporary feel to framed crocheted doilies. The symmetrical way in which the pieces are hung creates visual punch.


I love giving framed things as gifts. I found this artist on etsy. These hand cut hearts can be personalized with names, dates, places....whatever you like.
Sarahandbendrix on
Next time you need a great gift, think shadow boxing!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chinoiserie ( one image, NSFW)

Insipred by this photo, which is just BEYOND BEYOND!!!! and the fact that it's Wednesday night and therefore my 14 year old daughter has posted ANOTHER photo of herself and her best 3 year old buddy, whom she babysits on Wednesday evenings, who happens to be from China....I am dedicating today in honor of Chinoiserie.

I have had several Asian phases in my life, the first being when I myself was 14 and I vowed that 'when I grow up...' everything in my house was going to be Asian inspired. I think you can trace that 'mini-obsession' back to my parents' Lakehouse that is shaped like a glass lined octagon and at one point was designed in this style. MY bedroom had not only a mirror on the ceiling, but paper lanters, a koi fish shaped bedside table and dresser drawer pulls that were tiny little locks that you better not lose the key to, if you ever wanted to see Strawberry Shortcake again.

Typing 'chinoiserie' into google image search, I stumbled upon the following photo. Which kind of has me scratching my head. For two reasons...1...did I misspell it? and 2. why is she not morbidly ashamed of her boobies? I mean they are shaped pretty much like my boobies, only bigger and less saggy but SHE sure doesn't seem morbidly ashamed. To her I say, "One or two more babies and you'll be tied for first place!" but I digress. (and hilariously, it is via

Google images, you are the mother of all things surprising. I did find this delightful business card via which I am just going to have to order for my new business. I only wish that were my actual address...although that IS my area code,so hmmmm......But how adorable and in my favorite favorite favorite color combination of aqua and red! (plus, I have a bird thing going). I'm sure unless you've been under a rock somewhere for your entire life, that you know that red is the favorite color of China. It equals....all good things. Paint your front door red and you'll get rich. Wear red and you'll get attention. Put it on your flag and you'll dominate the world.

Does anyone remember that horrid show on HGTV called "Room by Room" which basically subjected us to a new 'theme room' every morning at 9:00. I hate theme rooms. More than 3 of something in a room and you've pushed it too far. As with all things, I think Chinoiserie goes over best when there's just a hint of it in a room.

via Country Living

How sweeet is this little handpainted detail? It turns a necessity into something really fun! Photo by Antony Crolla of artist Irene Feesy's home. (say her last name veeeery carefullllly)

Okay. When I die? Just stick my urn on a shelf in here. This is the best laundry room ever. Maybe the best ROOM ever! I love the cartoon like quality of the wallpaper. It's chinoiserie with a wink and a sense of humor. (via designsponge) And if you can't tell, that's a Chanel poster which makes the laundry room even that much more stylish. The reason why I would like to spend eternity in a laundry room like this is because as the mother of laundry room has NEVER EVER EVER been this organized, clean, or void of laundry...EVER!!!

This is the kind of chinoiserie that makes me go......zzzzzzz....very predictable but I do kind of dig the blue panels behind the plates,which could be painted on, for the budget saavy.
Thanks Charlotte Moss, you trailblazer , you. (via housebeautiful)

Another designsponge find....(where do they find all this goodness?????). I'm really into symmetry right now (another thing I swore I would never like!), loving those silver and bamboo-ey lamps. I also like how the funky plant in the corner kind of mimics the funky leaves in the wall panels. I'm also bird obsessed, and there are cranes hiding there. I think this is actually a booth from a homeshow but there is a lot to glean from this photo.
I have to tell you about a blog that I absolutely love and it's
It's put out by a furniture store called I.O. Metro and they have Vern Yip on the payroll. It's very hip and fun and Chinoise-ey...check it out!

For more Chinois yummy goodness click here.