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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

... And May All Your Christmases be White

I'm so sorry that I have been neglecting everyone! Work has been busy, and traveling, and Thanksgiving - again, no excuse. Although I usually resist decorating for Christmas early, there is one thing that I don't resist that says Christmas to me - paperwhites. Growing up, Christmas in Connecticut was always about smells: the smell of the tree, the garlands that my mother draped over the mantelpiece, bowls of clementines, and my favorite, paperwhites. Every year around Thanksgiving, my mother places these delightful bulbs all over the house, filling it with the most enchanting aroma.

For me, paperwhites smell like "home for the holidays," and purchasing my own paperwhite for my first New York apartment was almost ceremonial. The simple green and white will complement the color palate of any room--but for some additional color you can tie a ribbon around the stems of the flowers. Last year, I bought a thick chocolate brown satin ribbon from Kate's Paperie and tied it around the stems of my paperwhite--it was like putting a great necklace on over a little black dress.

One of my favorite things about paperwhites, is how inexpensive and easy to maintain they are! The most beneficial thing to do for your paperwhite is to put it outside for the evening. Don't worry about them getting cold, they like it, and the hit of cold every now and then prevents the stems from wilting. In New York,  I put my paperwhite on our balconette every night, and this ensures that its stems stay straight for the duration of the holiday season! If you don't have a mini balcony like WWB and I, use your fire escape! 

I bought my paperwhite last week for $8 at a market on Lex , and it is still going strong. Check out your local market or Trader Joe's, and if you don't have one in your area, typically Whole Foods or other grocery stores stock them this time of year. Merry Christmas!

Here's a tip: if the stems of your paperwhite begin to wilt, use the ribbon suggestion to tie them up. This way, you are supporting your paperwhite whilst adding some color.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Victorian Home with a Spartan Sense of Style

First off, let me say, clearly my scanner is having some difficulty. I apologize for the green lines on the photos - but I scanned these from the November 2011 issue of World of Interiors magazine, and it seems the two do not get along. That being said, below is what I believe to be an absolutely stunning home built in 1859 in London. Originally the home of a painter, the structure had bastardized over the years when used by a charitable organization for public space. Now after a painstaking restoration, by its owner and decorator Rose Uniacke, it is in full bloom again. 

My motivation behind showing you this house is that herein lies a perfect example of the spartan decorating that I alluded to in last week's post, Are you a Spartan? or a Victorian? I love being a spartan in rooms where the architecture speaks for itself. Although this house is much larger and much more ornate than anything I might ever live in, Uniacke allows the architecture - the mouldings, windows, fireplaces, and staircase - to be the main focus of the experience within the house.  

I can't decide which room is my favorite in all of these, although I do love the kitchen and the bathroom (to follow). Uniacke used reclaimed marble on the floor of the kitchen. 

Again, I apologize for the scanner difficulty, it won't happen again - but how beautiful is this house? I really do love the understated decorating, the neutral color palate and the furniture that is clearly contemporary but references the past. What a way to bring 1859 to the 21st century. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Books and the Recipe for my Aesthetic

There are those decorators who you wish that you could be a bit like. Rooms that you wish you could create, places you wish you could live. I have a list of decorators that I love; and whose style I hope that I can emulate. Combined, these decorators illustrate the way I would like my design aesthetic to appear ... Amelia Handegan, Tom Scheerer, Darryl Carter, Albert Hadley, and Jeffrey Bilhuber. Over the weekend I bought Bilhuber's new book, The Way Home - and its great. The interiors included are beautiful, but it is the stories behind the projects that are the most fun to hear about. Below are some Bilhuber rooms that I love.

Who do you wish you could emulate? Do you have a list of favorite decorators that combined, you feel best describes your style? 
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