Friday, July 29, 2011

Good Decor Reading....

I have to confess, I am a book junkie. During a summer in college, I interned at Book of the Month Club in the Time Warner building in NYC. Partially because it was so cool to work in a building filled with such incredible companies right in the heart of NYC and partially because they paid me in books.

Yes, the internship was non-paying....but they had a little section in the office that was called 'the free book shelf'.....needless to say, I got paid very well that books. I would salivate over books that weren't even about interests of mine..., gardening, history, geography....I loved the photos, the random topics and that new book smell was like a natural high for me. 

While mail-order publishing did not turn out to be my life's work, I did learn a lot that summer and at the end of August, the people I worked with were gracious enough to ship home the boxes upon boxes of free books that I had accumulated in my little cubicle that summer.

Needless to say, one of the first things we did when we bought our home was to rip down the faux-wood paneling in the den and have custom built-in bookshelves made. I needed a home for my collection after all!

So, I share all this in a very interesting lead-in to some of my favorite design books. One of which I don't even physically have yet! It is the Design*Sponge at Home and is currently available through pre-order at Barnes and Noble. For those of you who follow the Design Sponge blog (check it out here), you have already heard about the amazing 50% offer for those who pre-order by end of day July 29th! (it officially ends at 2:59am EST on July 30th).This book is like an amazing encyclopedia of design and you can't beat the price!
Order now!

Here is another one of my favorite decorating handbooks that I actually got at a garage sale!
 The Pocket Decorator by Pamela and Leslie Banker. It is hard to find- but it helps me recall the terms I have forgotten since design school (klismos, batik, get the idea!)

 And one more book for the shopping list: Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook....just because it makes me feel like an authority at home!

BTW- I am super excited to be Guest Blogging at Smarty Pants Mama on Monday! If you aren't already a fan- go check it out a day in advance....and I'll see you there Monday!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Peeping Tom Tuesday: Late Night goes out East!

In the spirit of the summer season, and as a life-time New Yorker, I have decided to take a trip out east for this installment of Peeping Tom Tuesday. I found these photos of late-night funnyman, Jimmy Fallon's home out in Sagaponack and simply fell in love (with the house, although Jimmy Fallon isn't so bad either!)

Built in 1850, I love the traditional Victorian style of this three-story home. 

With six bedrooms and 5 1/2 baths, I imagine the Fallons are having some kickin' parties this summer!

And what would an old horse-farm be without two horse barns (one with a heated pool) and an apple-orchard!

Another gem nestled on the east end of Long Island....for more photos visit here.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A rug to dine on? Or not?

Earlier this week I was at a client's house checking in on the progress of her home. We toured some of the rooms we were working on together but what I was really excited to see was her dining room. She had finally gotten the dining room furniture delivered which was delayed because she was having new hardwood floors put down. My client had purchased the dining room set before we started working together so I had heard a lot about it but had not seen it in her space.

Needless to say, the table is stunning and the chairs are beautiful (all from Ethan Allen but not matchy-matchy.) Anyway, the question came up about putting a rug under the dining table.....I hesitated to give my opinion. I flipped through the mental portfolio in my head and thought....hmmm...where do I stand on that issue? I realized very quickly that I don't have a firm stance on that issue: (Washington, here I come!) In some past projects I have used a rug under the dining table and in some past projects I have not. "Ok....time for a little self-analysis" I think to myself.

Sometimes I feel like my design decisions are instinctual: I know what I want but I don't have the explanation for why I want it. At least not at first. Anyway, I started to think about past projects and why I used rugs in dining spaces for some and not for others and it seems I always had a vision in my head supporting my decision.

Which made me curious about my do you prefer to dine....with rug?

Courtesy of my Pinterest from DesignSponge

Or without rug?
Courtesy of my Pinterest from
Conclusion to the story: In my client's home, the dining space is not a separate room. In fact, the main traffic flows from the front door, past the dining table and into the living room. The round dining table is nestled into an odd shaped nook in the dining area and we wouldn't be able to fit a rug large enough to keep all the chair legs on while dining. Here we opted for no rug. Phew....a little self-analysis on the spot and we solved that design dilemma.
How do you dine?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Peeping Tom Tuesday: Sarah Richardson's Summer Cabin

  For this week's Peeping Tom Tuesday, I am honoring one of my design idols: Sarah Richardson. For those of you who are not familiar with Sarah Richardson, she used to host the show Design, Inc. which chronicled the projects of her design firm. She then transitioned into one of my favorite shows: Sarah's House. On this show, Sarah purchased a house with her own money and renovated it (on a set budget) and then tried to sell it at a profit. The  most recent installment of this series was Sarah's Summer House where she renovated a bachelor pad cabin that her husband owner prior to meeting Sarah. The cool caveat about this cabin is that it is located on a little private island- accessible only by boat and it is run on solar panels. It is featured on the cover of Country Living July/August 2011.
Country Living

I loved watching Sarah navigate through making realistic design decisions for her own family and considering her husband's opinion (a red bedroom...). I have always loved her ability to mesh amazing patterns and colors seamlessly where not one pattern competes but instead compliments the other. Check out the photos below and tell me which room is your favorite! (Oh, did I mention that the invincible Sarah Richardson was pregnant while renovating this home?? So brave.)
Living Room
Master Bedroom Sitting Area
Child's Room
Guest Room


Somehow it Sarah brought the beautiful waters favorite though, is the red bedroom. I am a sucker for a punchy red!

On a personal note- nothing like foiling a plan on the first day! My big two week tackle of my own home decorating projects started with some client phone calls, food shopping and mail....ok, there is always tomorrow!!

The shoemaker's son has no shoes...the decorator's daughter has no curtains!

So you have heard the old saying 'the shoemaker's son has no shoes'? Well, I am going to confess that we have a case of 'the decorator's daughter has no curtains'. I am ashamed to admit it since I spend much of my time shopping and making decorating decisions for my clients but when it comes to my own home...I procrastinate making any I make no decisions. Ok, before you judge.....let me give you a little background on my home and its current state.

My husband and I bought our house just four short months before walking down the aisle. It was back in 2002, when the market was a fantasy-land and people were getting into bidding wars over homes that were practically about to be condemned. Needless to say, we won the bid on our house (a very sweet raised ranch that was neat and clean and smelled GREAT!) which we so sweetly nicknamed 'Big Red'. (You guessed it is a red house!) The house needed some updates at the time which we tackled when we had the time and the budget allowed.
Fast forward 9 years and we have had two beautiful babies and most recently a fur baby.While we have continued to update and decorate over time, my hubby and I have been on the hunt for our next home for about the last 5 years. While 'Big Red' has been good to us and is filled with many wonderful memories- we are ready for the next step and for a home with a layout and character that suits us better. Needless to say, with one foot out the door, my commitment to decorating and updating this home has been lackluster. Working often as a home stager, I know that any major money we put into our house will not be regained upon selling. So, this is why the decorator's daughter has no curtains. Window treatments are a bit of an expense and while I do realize that I will take them with me when I move, I also know that my moody side of decorating might want a new look for a new home.
Anyway....I share all that to say that, since I have resolved that we are going to be in this home at least another year, I am ready to finish up some of the rooms I have left incomplete....but on budget. And that is what I will be tackling over the next two weeks. I am going to finish up some lingering DIY projects, style some of my rooms the way I would like them to be and I am going to do so in the most frugal way possible. We just had most of the house re-painted so that leaves me with some big blank walls and a reluctance to re-hang the same stuff.
Here are some of the projects on my punch list:
Just bought these curtains for my daughter's I need to spice them up....hmmmm....the wheels are turning!

I also ordered this mirror for my hallway to add a bit of character.....

Have been loving this lamp in Sundrop yellow for sometime and decided I will still love it in a new home is on its way to my bedroom!

I also repainted my previously light blue kitchen a cool yellow so all the pics and accessories need to be restyled. Including this new shelf I just hung...(mine is currently bare!) can see I have my work cut out for me the next few'll probably see quite a few DIY posts along with amateur photos taken of my progress. I am rolling up my sleeves and getting to work.....after one more cup of coffee!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Beauty in Waiting....

Ralph Waldo Emerson said,  
“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”
And it is with this sentiment that I share this exquisite post by one of my favorite decorating bloggers: 'Censational Girl'- a blog I read daily!

Below you will see a photo of a stunning entry and waiting room. Before you scroll down, I would like for you to guess what you would be waiting for if you were sitting in this cool room: my first guesses were- an ad agency, a modeling agency or perhaps a hair salon.

Ok, so I would be wrong, wrong and wrong. In fact, if you were sitting in this waiting room, you could, in fact, be waiting for something a little more invasive.....something like a root canal! Yep, believe it! This is the waiting room of a very cool dentist. And the kicker of it all is that she decorated the office HERSELF!! Pretty cool, right? To drill down for more of the details (ok, couldn't help myself) check out the Centsational Girl Blog where she shares all the details about the decor and the dentist herself!

Artist, Designer, Dentist!

On another note: tomorrow is the last date to enter our Piret and Tamara giveaway! Click here to enter...

Also, I have had some wonderful people subscribe to have the blog delivered to them via email. However, it has come to my attention that some addresses have been listed unverified so please check your email to make sure the you have verified that you have subscribed so you can start receiving the post regularly. Thanks for your support!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Peeping Tom Tuesday: My LA LIfestyle

For this installment, I was inspired by a blog I like to follow: My LA Lifestyle. In this post, they peep into some celebrity homes that were recently on the market. One is the home of ultra-dangerous and totally cool Jason Statham. The other is for our favorite 'friend' Jennifer Aniston. This is the last peek we have into these amazing homes since they have since been purchased by new owners. Check out these cool photos below.
For more info and credits visit My LA Lifestyle
See more info on Jason Statham property at My LA Lifestyle

For more info on Jennifer Aniston's property visit My LA Lifestyle
More Cool pics and info at My LA Lifestyle

 And for our own touch of celebrity, don't forget to enter our giveaway for the Piret and Tamara Eye Silk in the color Surf as seen in Lucky and OK magazines. Just visit the giveaway post and comment on your favorite product from Piret and Tamara. The giveaway has been extended until July 15th!
Thanks again to LA Lifestyle for the great content as usual! It makes me feel like I take a mini mind-vacation to the west coast when I read their amazing posts!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Our house grew by 4 feet in one day!

Yes! Our house grew by four furry feet on Friday! I'd like to introduce you all to our newest little girl, an adorable Teddy Bear puppy (otherwise called a Zhuchon- Shih Tzu and Bichon). She is such a doll! We named her Fergie, the Duchess of Yorktown (because we like the name and because we love the royal pun!) Fergie is wonderful with the kids and is so brilliant, she is already paper trained! We are now getting her trained to go outdoors which she is about 75% accomplished at in just 2 days. Brilliant, I tell you. Our only trouble right now is that she whimpers a bit at night, which causes the kids to run to her rescue....basically a free-for-all at night in the Palumbo household. Oh well, Rome wasn't built in a day....although at night I do wish I had Cesar Millan encouraging me to be the pack leader!
Although you have to admit...even at three in the morning...she is such an adorable pup!
Ok, more home stuff tomorrow..just had to share my new love!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Rustic Cottage Life: Vintage Chair ReUpholster Before and After

As a design blogger, I also a BIG fan of numerous other design blogs. They give me inspiration, ideas and sometimes just downright BLOW my mind!! And that is the post I am sharing with you today from the My Rustic Cottage Life blog. This lady has got guts, gusto and talent! She rescued this abandoned, unloved chair from her family archives and with some passion and persistence turned it into a won't believe your eyes......

Possibly the best chair makeover EVER!!

And as if you weren't already jumping out of your chair to start reupholstering it- here is another dirty little secret: This superwoman got this gorgeous fabric at her local Walmart (40 miles away from her home) for $13.75...for THREE YARDS!! This is unbelievable, I know!

Ok, catch your breath. Compose yourself. Now visit her amazing blog, My Rustic Cottage Life, for all the expose on this transformation!
My Rustic Cottage Life: Vintage Chair ReUpholster Before and After

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Peeping Tom Tuesday: Knockout of a Nursery!

While I love decorating any nook and cranny in a home, my most favorite decorating gigs are the ones for the  nurseries and childrens rooms. I think there is such freedom in designing a room for a wee one that allows me to venture into uncharted paint colors that you wouldn't dare suggest for a main room! Whip in a bit of whimsy and delight and those mini-clients are sure to be full of giggles and smiles! So, for this Peeping Tom Tuesday, I had to share this knockout of a nursery.

Here, courtesy of Project Nursery,and designed by Little Crown Interiors, is a sneak peek into the nursery of  new mommy, Laila Ali (daughter of Muhammad Ali and mom to baby girl, Sydney.) This nursery packs a lot of punch in the color department but is sweet as pie for a baby girl!
Project Nursery

Project Nursery

Project Nursery

So gorgeous....right?
On another note.....we have had some technical difficulties with our very first giveaway! I have had many readers email me stating that they had difficulty entering the giveaway. And since I am such a sucker for beauty and want to give everyone the chance to win Piret and Tamara's gorgeous Eye Silk in Surf (as seen in Lucky magazine) I am going to extend it until July 15th. I am also offering more options on how to enter.

1. Look around on the Piret and Tamara website. Pick out a product you would love to have.
2. Either post a comment on my blog telling me which product you love the most.
3. Or, you can 'Like' Piret and Tamara on Facebook and post a comment on their page stating which product you like the most.
4. And of course, you can do BOTH for two entries! Good Luck!