Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Historic Hardware and pieces for an old home

Last week I spent some time doing a staging consult in an old Colonial home. On my staging consults, I walk through the home with the homeowner (and sometimes the Realtor) and give my advice and suggestions on changes they could make to prepare their home for sale. In older homes, there are unique challenges since buyers are very discerning and still expect an "updated home" even if the house was built over 100 years ago. (And one of the great pleasures of living in my area of Westchester, NY is that there are houses peppered throughout the county that were built during pre-revolutionary times- George Washington and many of his peers have stayed in these historic homes!) In fact, here is a photo of the Davenport House in Yorktown Heights and its historical marker:
The Davenport House, Yorktown Heights, NY
One of the challenges in working in these homes is updating the details and maintaining the historic integrity. (just an FYI, if you were doing a true construction on a historic home, their are professionals who are equipped to handle these restorations. I am talking about handling minor tweaks such as hardware!) One of the resources I rely on for detail pieces such as door hinges, door knobs, push & kick plates and especially floor registers is House of Antique Hardware. They have such great pieces, many can be used in new construction as well as historic homes! You can even shop by the style of the home (Colonial, Victorian, Arts & Crafts) is a "must shop" on my resource list!
Colonial Door Knocker
If you are interested in finding out more about the services offered at Homestyling101, please visit or call (914) 420-6506.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Get Organized!

While flipping through my newest InStyle mag, they had a page with some organizing tricks. There I spied this clever company, Urbio which has developed a wall organization system which is magnetized and can be customized. You can even use them for wall planters. Genius, I tell you. Had me thinking...why didn't I think of  that?? And now I'm thinking....why haven't I bought that??
Urbio Happy Family $75

Urbio Big Happy Family $175
I always love the idea of using the vertical space...might buy the Happy Family for my daughter's room. Have you found any good organizing tools lately?

Monday, April 23, 2012

TRADhome...some good reading!

So yesterday I sat down with my IPad on a yucky rainy Sunday and read the 2nd issue of TRADHome, the online version of the paper mag Traditional Home. This mag was just what I needed to bring some sun into my dreary day! Besides the colorful interior shots, they also feature 10 great design apps, and rooms by Melanie Turner (one of my favorite designers). The issue is called the Bloggers issue and TRADhome introduces 10 new TRADhome designers. These designers are inspiring and their rooms are breathtaking. And the feature written on Mona Ross Berman was written by Design Manifest designer and blogger, Naomi Stein. (She nominated Berman for the honor in TRADhome and subsequently was asked to pen the article...very cool for both talented ladies!)
After you read her article, you should go check out her blog Design Manifest. Ok, I've shared that is looks to be another rainy day here in NY, I might have to go back and re-read the issue of TRADhome...enjoy!
TRADhome Issue

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Secrets to Sofa Shopping

When sofa shopping for clients, I have a little formula I use which narrows down the vast myriad of choices available on the market.
Wisteria Slip Covered Sofa
First, I consider size. Sofas can range from a small size of 77" to a grandiose 100"+. What matters most is how this sofa is going to fit into your space. I strongly suggest measuring the couch that you currently and then considering how that size has worked for you in your home. Is it too big and bulky or is it too small for the space? This will give you a suitable range of what size sofa you should shop for.

Pottery Barn Rowan Sofa at a large 91"
Next, consider features of the seat cushions of the sofa to further whittle down the sofa search. Do you have a preference of one sofa cushion, two sofa cushions or three sofa cushions? If your not sure which cushion suits you best, think about how your sofa is most often used. Do you sprawl across it to watch TV? If so, then one or two cushions might be best for your comfort. Do you entertain and squeeze multiple behinds on your sofa? Then you might prefer three cushions so no one is sitting on a gap. If you do have a preference, be sure to consider this in your search criteria and it will easily eliminate the sofas that won't fit the bill for your lifestyle.
West Elm Blake Sofa Boasts one Seat Cushion

The next feature to consider is the style of back cushions of the sofa. Are you into the loosey-goosey look of a sofa or more a fan of the prim and proper pillows? For a more casual look, you might like a sofa with loose pillows on the back that fall a different way every time and can be manipulated a little more for personal preference. If you prefer everything in order then you should consider a sofa with attached back cushions which require minimal fluffing and always stay where they belong.
Crate and Barrel Tailor Sofa with Loose Cushions
Lastly, get to the bottom of it all by looking at the foot of the sofa. Do you prefer the romantic style of a sofa with a gathered skirt or the structured look of a tuxedo skirted sofa? Or maybe you prefer the lighter look of a sofa with exposed legs where you can get at every dust bunny that might float under your precious piece? Of course, there are varieties of skirts and legs that can drastically change the look of your sofa but if you start thinking about these fine details of a sofa, it will help you find the perfect sofa to fit your taste and lifestyle.
Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Charlotte Sofa with Exposed Leg
It may seem like a grand undertaking but once you do a little investigating, it will quickly become apparent which is the right sofa for you. Do you have any great sofa success stories you'd like to share? I'm always curious which sofas can stand the test of time!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I Heart Galbraith & Paul

While fabric shopping for a client's ottoman....I fell in love.....big time! I had to share my love affair with Galbraith & Paul EVERYTHING! Their patterns are divine but their colorways are even more amazing. I love one more than the next....but here are my faves:

Couldn't you see this on a wall in a girl's nursery? You have to check out the other colorways...always a treat!
Galbraith & Paul Lotus Wallpaper

 Named after my favorite cookie: the Pizzelle and yes, it also comes in a velvet...yum!
Galbraith & Paul Pizzelle Fabric
 And while most of their lines are available to the trade only, they do have a lighting line at Room & Board:

Galbraith & Paul Lighting
I think it is high time I get myself some swatches of these patterns to pin on my board and adore!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Not your Grandma's Wing Chair...or your Grandpa's Recliner

I love when traditional pieces are freshened up and made hip and more mod.....
and that's why I am here to say...thank you Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams because this is not your Grandma's Wing Chair:
Mitchell Gold Bob Williams ASHTON

And thank you to West Elm because this is not your Grandpa's Recliner! I can definitely use this in a family room!
West Elm Sedgwick Recliner
And by the way...they have redone the Granny Rocker, too! Hmmmm, maybe I'll have a nursery project to work on soon (hint to my sister!!)

West Elm Ryder Rocker

Monday, April 2, 2012

Kathryn Ireland: a class act

Some of you may have read my little post about Suzani prints where I talked a little about the background of the pattern and share some examples of some of my faves....high end and low end. If you missed it...check it out here.
Kathryn Ireland

One of the high end examples of Suzani that I included were those amazing fabric prints of the ever-amazing Million Dollar Decorator Kathryn Ireland. I am always in awe of her fearless mixing of patterns and colors...her designs always look effortless. I truly enjoyed watching her on the first season of Million Dollar Decorator on Bravo....from that show I learned that she is a really dedicated designer and hard-worker and hysterically funny! In fact, if I wasn't an interior designer, the second best job would be to be Kathryn Ireland's housekeeper...she is privy to great clothes, great booze and lots of laughs for sure!
Kathryn Ireland
Anyway, I received a package in the mail last week and it came from Kathryn Ireland Studios in CA. I opened the package to find a beautiful box...too pretty to fact, I didn't open it for a few hours because I am a sucker for pretty packaging! When I finally did cave in and open it, there was the most beautiful fragrant candle inside with a hand-written note from Kathryn thanking me for the fabric piece. I almost fell on the floor...ok, I did fall on the floor. My kids had to revive me and kept asking "what is so special about that candle?" Then I explained to them that when you admire and respect someone and their body of work and then they turn around and give you even the littlest acknowledgment, the feeling is just overwhelming. (That was my parental teaching moment...what I really wanted to say was "Shut up people...this shi* is from Kathryn Ireland bitches!!" But I realized that would have been totally inappropriate!)
The beautiful box and the handwritten notecard had pictures of Kathryn's three boys in a sunflower field as yougins' and on the inside..there was a photo of them all grown up.

Here's my little note...which means so much to little old me!

Truth be told, one of the reasons why I didn't pursue Interior Design after studying it at FIT was that the industry (at the time) was full of stuffy, pretentious least that is how it felt. It seemed the better you were, the meaner you had to be. Those times have changed a lot since the HGTV era- design is more accessible so there are a wider variety of people utilizing the services and providing the service...not just the uber wealthy. Anyway, Kathryn Ireland renewed my feeling that you can be a super success, top in your field and still be nice to the little people.

I understand that Kathryn Ireland is not sitting up at night reading my blog, but somehow it came to her attention that I mentioned her and she took the moment or an employee of hers took the moment to recognize that. And for that, she is a class act. Sorry for the long post over a little candle but it meant so much more than just a candle. smells Kathryn states in the card included "La Castellane...handcrafted fragrance inspired by my Farm in France....basil, verbena with notes of lemon" it is absolutely divine! Thank you, Kathryn...I am infinitely inspired by you!