Heather's Home Office Mood Board

First of all, this is my first mood board! I know right? I can't believe I haven't done one before.  I don't know why.  I see them all the time on other people's blogs and I like when they do them.  I guess I doubted my technical ability, which is 'turded because I was an advertising major and worked with such crazy software as Quark (do they still use that?). Anyway, I'm a little Charlie Sheen manic at the moment as I have just finished my first mood board and I'm all "Ohmygosh this is so much fun! I'm going to be crazy mood board lady now."

Ok, so Heather and her man share an awesome house in Chicago (not an apartment, a house).  They've done a super great job decorating it to be a sort of nautical, beachy retreat in the city.  As I mentioned earlier, he's a sailor and loves blue and white. She's a corporate event coordinator for the University of Chicago about to launch her side business as a wedding planner.  They have an open basement that she plans on making into her home office and has asked for some ideas.

These were her demands requests: calming, man friendly, a highboy table with stools and backs,  plasma screen over the fireplace, different shades of blue, silver as the accent color.

I've only seen the room once so I'm probably grossly over-estimating the floor space, but I do remember there were terra cotta tile floors.  I'm told the walls are now a grayish blue.  

Here's what I came up with!

Desk Area

Gold screen + black lacquer desk + blue & white chinoiserie lamp + slipcovered chair with awesome spotted pillow + seagrass rug + toile wastebasket {sources here}

So I sort of ignored Heather's request for silver accents (sorry Tushy), but I felt like it was competing with the terra cotta and I couldn't make it work so I went gold.   

Highboy Table Area 

dhurrie striped rug + round pub table + rattan chair stools + nautical map + nautical brass pendant + gorgeous bowl centerpiece {sources here}

Living Area 

dhurrie rug + simple white sofa + black and white kelly wearstler pillows + x side table + oval ring side table + concentric coffee table + mustard side chair {sources here}
So that's it! My first mood board(s).  I'm officially obsessed.  Hope y'all enjoyed it as much as I did.  

Don't forget to enter my giveaway.  You have until Friday! 

Also, if you're in Chicago and need a wedding planner, my friend Heather is excellent.  She hasn't officially launched her business, but she's already doing work on the side.  Send me an email if you're interested and I'll put you in contact with her! 

French Blue Friday

I love me some french blue.

via Oliveaux
Lots to love about this dining room! Happy Friday Y'all! 

A Refreshing, Traditional Southampton Home

While browsing the internet yesterday, looking for banquette inspiration, I came across this lovely, traditional Southampton home in House Beautiful.  This cozy family home was designed by Markham Roberts, and while the blue and white initially caught my eye, it's the traditional but fresh style that kept my attention.  Lately, I've been so overwhelmed with the contemporary bright colors and bold patterns that I'm finding myself seeking out the opposite.  I think this is a great example of how to take classical elements and make them fresh.

I love the green tufted chaises next to the fireplace 

The sisal rugs and mirror are hand stenciled.  I also love that built-in bookcase is lifted off the ground, which keeps the hallway from feeling cramped,

I love the fresh look of the fern prints and the wide-planked wood floors.  (Trivia: The Suze had a fern print couch when we were little.  It will be making an appearance here soon) 

Another  cozy banquette 

The little girl's room is very traditional with an adorable 19th century child's slipper chair 

My kind of master bedroom in blue and white. 

Guest bedroom - I love the upholstered chair with the contrasting dark buttons and piping and ruffled skirt

Another cozy banquette on the sunporch, the perfect place for me to take a nap.  I love the shades , too.
For more of this lovely home and the accompanying article in House Beautiful, click here.

Banquette Love

I love banquette seating especially in a kitchen nook. (It's no secret I love nooks)  I love the idea of being able to squeeze next my honey over Sunday breakfast. Here's some inspirational breakfast nookie for you today.

Jackye Lanham
Sara Gilbane 
My Home Ideas
Steven Gambrel

Melissa Warner via La Dolce Vita

via Life and Style: A to Z

Traditional Home 
Katie Stassi via Cote de Texas

via DecorPad

Lonny Magazine 

House Beautiful 

A Book in Her Hands-Library Update.

Please take your hand and scroll over to the sidebar. Notice how close we are to our Ethiopia Reads goal. Now take your hand and pat yourself on the back.

Thank You. You are awesome.

Wordless Wednesday

French Country Chic in D Home

Growing up in Highland Park, Texas, I've been privy to some of the most beautiful, tasteful homes I've ever seen, many of which will never end up on the pages of a magazine, but easily could.  I always get excited and inspired when I get a glimpse of interiors from my hometown. There's just something about the way they do things down there.

I don't know the couple in this D Magazine article so it might get awkward when I show up at their house and ask to sleep in their guest room for a couple nights.

Or read a book from start to finish in their special guest sitting room 

Or get bombed next to this fabulous "martini niche" as the magazine calls it (loves it)

I need an acrylic bar cart stat 
And pass out in their backyard as they look out disapprovingly from their amazing windows.

Just kidding. I would never be so inappropriate.  For more of this lovely Dallas home see HERE.

Photography by Stephen Karlisch 

In defense of Keep Calm and Carry On

There's an interesting discussion going on over at Little Green Notebook questioning whether or not design bloggers and long-time blog readers are overexposed to design.  One of the examples many of the commenters used is the Keep Calm and Carry On poster.  Almost everyone on the blogosphere will agree that this has been used and over-used and many are tired of seeing it.

As seen in my nursery 
In fact, I was a little self-conscious about posting the photos of my nursery that had the poster in it (I even made a defensive comment about it in the captions).  I was afraid the cool kids might not take me seriously.  So Junior High right?

Grant K. Gibson used it for the teen's bathroom in the Elle Decor showhouse 
Then I remembered, I am neither cool nor a designer, and I like the poster.  When it's 3 a.m. and you're baby has just vomited all over you after you changed three diapers in a row, as your husband snores in the next room, it is perfect advice.  Also, everybody that visits my nursery singles that poster out as something they love in the room.  It still makes a great gift for friends and it's a cute way to add some color to the room. 

As seen in this kitchen in House Beautiful 
I think, perhaps, the reason people bloggers are so sick of it, is because it is everywhere.  It's a curious case of something that is in the public domain because the copyright has expired and thus anyone is free to use it and profit from it.  I will admit, I sometimes groan when I see it on design blogs, but strangely it doesn't seem to bother me when I see it in my own home.  It makes me happy.  

A cute variation for a children's birthday party via Hostess with the Mostess 
So I will unapologetically keep the tired old poster up in the nursery and thirty years from now when the trend has recycled for the third time, I can look back at pictures of my little boy's nursery and remember how cool I was.  I'm going to love it for like ever

Ok enough with the beds right?


Sorry, I'm in a weird mood.  Anyhoo, I keep seeing posts about this house from Elle Decor by Steven Gambrel.  I really like this headboard. Very Pretty.

and just so you don't get sick of me and my bed obsession, here are two more lovely images from the same house that aren't bedrooms.

Ashley Whittaker Bedroom

I came across this bedroom by Ashley Whittaker  while browsing her portfolio and thought, wouldn't it be nice to have such a clean space?  Obviously, I love the room for it's blue and whiteness and very cozy looking bed that's calling my name (people who read this blog probably think I'm the laziest, I'm not, I'm just mourning the sleep I once took for granted pre-bebe).  Anyway, my house is somehow a complete disaster today and it would be nice to have a beautiful photo-shoot ready room that doesn't have dog hair and spit-up clothes strewn about.  It may be a four-cup-of-coffee-morning today to get me moving and cleaning.  Perhaps, I shall put on the Justin Bieber collection that I shamelessly purchased after seeing his movie (which was awesome btw...I'm now a Belieber) and dance my house clean.

Birthday Wish For Chris

Last February 19th, after I read her two bedtime stories, Meazi turned to me and said, “Mommy, I think my Daddy is sad about his Mom today.” I asked if my husband had said something to her about Chris. She said, “No, I just think so.” Remarkably, this date was Chris’s birthday. Her eyes got wide and she yelled, “Mommy! Why we did not celebrate? We didn’t even get a cake!” I told her that since Grandma Chris wasn’t here to enjoy it, we didn’t feel like celebrating. She was quiet for a moment and then said sternly, “Mommy, next time we are going to celebrate for her. We are going to get a cake. We will get a candle. I can make her wish for her. It is her birthday.” 

When I wrote that article for In Culture parent, I actually wrote the wrong date. Chris' birthday is the 20th of February, yesterday. She would have been 66 years old. We didn't get a cake, but we did find a way to celebrate. On our way to Chinatown, I asked Meazi if she wanted to visit the wishing well, and make a birthday wish for Chris there. She said she would. As we got closer she told me that she was going to wish for roller skates instead. I didn't have high hopes. Steven had shown Meazi and Melese an album that morning, old black and white photos of his family. The wishing well has little dishes scattered to collect coins. In front of the dishes are small signs like, 'health', 'long life', 'money', and even 'vacation'. You can be pretty specific about what you wish for. We gave the kids all the coins we had.

Steven bought them those annoying little snappers that you can throw or stomp.

We did a little shopping.

And exploring.
Then we went to one of very favorite restaurants in Los Angeles.

The food came, Meazi took a couple of bites, turned to me and said, " I wished for 'love' and 'happy' for Grandma Chris."

I wish you could have met these two Chris. They are remarkable.

Happy Birthday.

How to Fly A Kite

The conditions have to be right- some wind, but not too much. They’ll need some guidance, how to hold the string, when to start running, how to let out more string. You’ll want to let them do it themselves, to build confidence. It’s a delicate balance; one missing element and the whole thing comes crashing down.

The second time we took the kids kite flying was a clear, crisp, cold day last October. Meazi had gotten a beautiful butterfly kite for her birthday that September. I had filled a crock-pot that morning with ingredients that would hopefully, miraculously form a delicious Chili Verde. There seemed to be a medium wind, strong enough for flight, but not too volatile for novice fliers. Steven assured me that we wouldn’t be gone long, and that it was safe to leave the crock- pot going, even with our very antiquated, faulty electricity. We bundled up the kids, threw the kite in the trunk, got traveler mugs of coffee, and put a bag of dried mangoes in the front seat, in case we got hungry.

We drove to a nearby park where we knew they had some large, open, fields. There was a group of men playing soccer on the front field, so we walked to the one at the very back. The artificial grass was soaked, and our jeans soon became muddied. Steven got the kite up and running. Meazi took a turn, an old pro by now, having perfected the art last January when she was, in her words, just a little girl. The kite soared, dipped, evened out, Meazi was running and laughing, Melese gazed up with big eyes, “Birabaro!” he cried (Amharic for butterfly). I took a turn while Meazi yelled out tips, “Run faster Mommy!” A feeling of joy surged through my veins, Oh yeah, I remembered, this is why people fly kites. I gave the kite back to Meazi.

I told Steven that I needed to get Melese a dry pair of pants as he had been sitting down to watch. The air was getting much colder, and the sun was setting quickly. I picked up Melese and walked the long way back to the car. I got him new pants and saw my forgotten coffee in the cup holder. I grabbed it, took a swig, and felt the warmth in my throat, still hot. “What a perfect fall day,” I thought.  I locked and closed the car door. As I turned around, Melese in my arms, I saw the kite, high in the air, indeed a beautiful, vibrant, birabaro. I looked for Meazi and Steven below. Instead of them I noticed a family of four, a man, woman, and a boy and a girl. “How great,” I thought, “Meazi is sharing her kite with another family”. I was frankly surprised that Meazi would share something that she treasured so much, (sharing, up until now, had not been her forte). I walked a little faster, eager to praise Meazi for her generosity.

As we got closer I saw that Meazi and Steven were nowhere near the kite. Meazi was sobbing, chest heaving, face soaked with tears. The kite was stuck in a tree, that family of four was not flying it; they were just staring at the spectacle of a giant butterfly tangled in a tree. The wind had really picked up now. The gusts were keeping the kite flying strong, the tree now its navigator. I looked at Steven, his face tense. “What’ll we do?” I asked. “We’ll have to wait for the wind to die down,” he said. Meazi was inconsolable. This wasn’t your everyday crying; this wasn’t the superficial crying of a kid not getting what they wanted. These cries were frightening, they came from a deep, deep, place. Two security guards came out. They had a tall white stick. I don’t know what they normally used it for. As they approached the tree, Steven mentioned to them that if they tried to use the stick to loosen the plastic blue handle, the wind would definitely take the kite, and that would be the end of it.
It was getting colder. Meazi could not stop crying. It was past dinnertime. Who knew what was happening with the crock-pot. Steven told me to take the kids home, and that he would wait there for the wind to die down. He was wearing shorts and didn’t have a coat. I could see that he was cold. “I’ll call you”, he said, “You can come back and get me later.” I told Meazi that we were going to go home, and that daddy was going to stay and work on getting the kite back. She was a mess. I managed to walk the length of the field again, and got both kids into their car seats. Meazi cried the whole way home, “My beautiful kiiiiiiite, my beautiful kite.” I tried to console her. I told her we could get a new kite. She said we didn’t know where Amy and Tunsi got that kite. I told her that I would ask them, that I would find out, and that we would get her a new butterfly kite. Her crying was reminiscent of the crying we heard from her in Ethiopia. It was from a deep place. I wanted to soothe her; I wanted her sadness to stop. It was supposed to be an easy, breezy day, full of light and wonder. Here we were instead, wails and tears, darkness falling, dinner burning. I got them into the house. I got them into their dinner seats. I dished out their Chili Verde. I put some rolls in the oven to be warmed, hoping that maybe the warmth of a hot dinner would somehow fill the place where the grief was emanating from. We had a few bites of food and my phone rang. It was Steven. “I’ve got the kite,” he said. “ Daddy has the kite!” I screamed. I told him we’d be right there. Meazi grabbed her coat; I got Melese bundled up again. I turned off the oven and put our bowls on the counter so the dog wouldn’t finish our meal.

Meazi was quiet on the way over. After an initial expression of glee, “Daddy saved the day!” she became quite quiet. I am not sure what she was feeling. We picked up Steven, kite in hand, the coolness of his body filled the car. We returned home, and sat down to finish our dinner. Steven told Meazi about all the kites he lost as a kid. He told her the first loss was the hardest. He managed to convey to her that the joy is found in the actual flying of the kite, and that the kite is indeed replaceable.

I spoke to my mom on the phone that night, I told her all about the kite and she said, “It was another loss for her.”
Sometimes a kite is just a kite, but sometimes the wind changes, and a butterfly can get caught in a difficult spot. As that continues to happen, we’ll just have to wait patiently for the wind to die down.

Lovely Bedroom Nook

How cozy is this niche bed complete with drapes behind which one can tuck away and hide?

The best part is the door in the nook that leads to ladies room.  This means I could conceivably get there by just rolling over.  I find this to be truly brilliant for my brand of laziness.

Have a lovely weekend y'all!

{Please pardon the less than stellar quality of this image.  My scanner is bunk.}

Image from Blue and White Living by Stephanie Hoppen.  
Photography by Fritz von der Schulenburg
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