Sydney Blues

March 10, 2013



“Color is light made visible”.   ~ Donald Kaufman


Crying the blues for Sydney– blues rendered vivid by the brilliant harbor light.  Sydney is the place where I studied color and design and the light there was so different than the murky veiled light of Washington, DC.  It was there that I came to appreciate how light affects color in different regions of the world.



via Ken Done



The light on the eastern coast of Australia, especially combined with a water view, is where white on walls comes to life.  The strong light calls for clean, bright hues…  like cobalt blue, yellow and hot pink.  Anna Spiro, who lives up the coast in Brisbane,  is a master at working in this light.  Her blog,  Absolutely Beautiful Things is one of my favorite reads– it is brimming with images of  stunning pattern and color.




via absolutely beautiful things




via absolutely beautiful things



The Design Files, another great Aussie blog, is also a favorite.  A wander over to that site always cheers me up– the light in many of the homes featured there is unmistakable.




via the design files




via the design files


This is one of my favorite ways to use color– white as a backdrop for intense pops of color– but it really only works with lots of strong natural light.





Below is a similar look in a light- filled loft in New York City.  It is beautiful, but the light is not the same.



via the new york times



This is why my earth- toned neutrals which were perfect back in Virginia looked so washed out in my living room in Sydney.






Maybe I’m just getting impatient for warm weather– these colors (below) could  certainly work in a sweet little beach house on the Atlantic coast.



via absolutely beautiful things




via ken done


A trip down under should be on everyone’s bucket list.  If you go, just be sure to pack your sunglasses!





Orange Crush

March 4, 2013



“Orange is the happiest color.”  ~ Frank Sinatra


Spending too much time inside my house this winter but took a stroll around yesterday and inventoried just how many little doses of orange have crept into my rooms. I know… “Tangerine Tango” is so 2012, but these pieces are keepers!  And, yes, they do make me happy.





It may have all started here with the shot of orange in this rug we brought back from Afghanistan years ago. It’s relatively small (6×8) so doesn’t dominate the room. It’s the only real color and pattern in my otherwise quiet neutral bedroom.





And I couldn’t resist this linen pillow with a brilliant orange trim (antique Hungarian) from Pandora Balthahazar several years ago at the Brimfield Antiques Show.  All of my linens are neutral, walls are painted in my favorite C2Paint ‘Bristle’ (a warm sand color) with ceilings and trim in the soft C2 Cotton– with just a few small pops of orange.





This  window seat pillow (found on Etsy) combines the burgundies and oranges found in the rug.






My little library with floor to ceiling bookshelves, walls and ceiling all painted out in Benjamin Moore Linen White, gets a color shot on a small accent wall painted in Donald Kaufman’s DKC 17– the perfect backdrop for a little abstract by the artist Marcia Staiger.





Thanks, Mom for this flea market find.








Another Brimfield steal– an antique Aboriginal painting.  Absolutely love the colors in it.   Funny, I never found one that I loved enough to purchase while living in Australia.





Also couldn’t resist this “cheeky”  pillow from local designer Supon Phornirunlit of  Naked Decor.  It wakes up the austere lines of a Thos. Moser  wingchair.





And again, it’s… tulip time!  Tulips are my favorite flower because they really arrange themselves. And that’s about all the orange this room needs.






So that’s my wrap up for orange. Small hits of it are cheery and fun- especially in the winter months. Not seeing “Emerald Green”  creeping into my house anytime soon.  Though lately, I am coveting the pop of warm green in this beautiful house designed by Feldman Architecture.



via Anne Irwin Fine Art



And this painting by the artist  Bernd Hausmann.




artist Colin Page



Perhaps in my next house… ‘Emerald Green’ might be just perfect in a little vacation cottage on a lake in Maine (with orange  confined to the driveway) .



Thanks for stopping by!



Andrew Wyeth + Winter Whites

February 25, 2013



“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape – the loneliness of it – the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it – the whole story doesn’t show.”

~  Andrew Wyeth



Andrew Wyeth, Fence Line



White on the brain again!  Maybe it’s the winter view of bark and white sky out my window.  But I was leafing through a beautiful book “Andrew Wyeth– Memory and Magic” yesterday and was drawn to the monochromatic palette of browns, tans and whites of his “Chadd’s Ford” paintings.  I love the interplay between the layers of white and neutrals here and am really drawn to the same palette for interiors.




via Interiorly




Andrew Wyeth, Long Limb



via New York Times






Andrew Wyeth, Trodden Weed




Amelia Handegan




Andrew Wyeth, Open and Closed






Andrew Wyeth’s “Maine” paintings are, of course, another story.



Andrew Wyeth, Wind from the Sea



Summer awaits.



Andrew Wyeth, On the Edge




Cocoa + Apricot at Georgetown’s ‘Evermay’

February 22, 2013



When I first came across these photos of the recently renovated interior of the historic Evermay  (1802) in Georgetown I was really bowled over.



Gordon Beall



The palette is elegant and restrained– dark wood paneling,  creams, cocoa and a touch of apricot. This is the work of Rill Architects with stunning photography by Gordon Beall.




Gordon Beall









Gordon Beall




Gordon Beall



The floors!  The ceiling!



Gordon Beall


Quiet restraint in the bedroom.



Gordon Beall


Ingenious  placement of beds with books– love this idea.







You can read all about the history of Evermay here.


And I’m actually looking forward to another summer season of concerts there.






Stay warm my readers…  cherry blossom season is just around the corner!  Have a lovely weekend~






A Little White Bathing Beauty

February 17, 2013


Happy February!  Busy with projects inside and out.

I’m well into the major disorder of another remodeling project in my own home… this time my master bath. I’ve been wallowing again in the world of toilets, tile, shower drains, and light fixtures (not to mention paint samples).  Got me thinking about a project completed 2 years ago (a total gutting + remodel of my daughter’s bath, finished just in time for her to go off to college). Now it serves as a guest bath. Anyway… it was really a lesson in “pulling back”– as in respecting the period style of our 1937 “cottage” and not going gaga with things like color-changing LED’s in the shower, etc.  We kept things very restrained and simple (kind of hard to do). Would like to share!






Design inspiration really began with this sweet little freestanding chest I spotted in a Ballard Designs catalog. It was the perfect width (43″) and height (35″) for a vanity and easily (sort of) modified to accomodate plumbing below. We had to remove the innards of the top drawers to accomodate the sink. But it had a lovely painted finish– off-white with toffee colored accents and super solid construction (and was a fraction of the price of a custom-built piece).





I  simply added a Caesarstone quartz countertop in ‘Jerusalem Sand’  and VOILA~








Lovely, yes?  And my 6 ft. tall daughter no longer has to crouch to brush her teeth!






So,  my vision for this little space was “all white”.  I chose simple clean white subway tile for the shower (Daltile/Biscuit) and covered the entire room (floor to ceiling) in painted (C2 Paint ‘Milk Mustache’) beadboard. The color is creamy enough to add some warmth and complement the fixtures (Kohler ‘Biscuit’ bathtub and sink), without turning too yellow. Love this inset medicine cabinet w/beveled glass from Rejuvenation (adding 2 more of these beauties to my next project).





For contrast, I went with oil rubbed bronze fittings (Kohler).  But, getting to the point of “pulling back”, I will gush about this bathtub choice!





Bowled straight over?  Maybe not, but you should be!  Seriously, we had an original Kohler Mayflower corner tub (circa 1937) in this place.  The contractor had to smash it to smithereens (did you know that cast iron does this?) to get it out of the house. It was carried down in little buckets from the second floor and out the door. I really had envisioned a clean, glass door shower thing in its place, but after multiple sketches and bids– it wasn’t working. AND we would be losing the only bathtub in the house. I remember when it hit me… way late in the game, that maybe simply replacing the corner tub, which would mean some sort of shower curtain again (gasp!) might be an option. When I googled ‘corner bathtub’, there it was! My original enameled cast iron Kohler Mayflower, updated and available under the same name in 2010!  I found an angled shower rod at Signature Hardware and a pair of (yes two) matelasse shower curtains at Ballard Designs.  It’s a dreamy little corner!





The other odd (but really nice) feature was a window here. It provides nice (though northern) light and with the wooded setting,  privacy is not an issue with trees leafed out in the summer.





But in winter,  this glass Tiffany-inspired panel (lots of of  black-capped chickadees in the trees outside this window) does the trick.





I was just fine with keeping everything tone-on-tone but my daughter wanted a drop of blue in the room and fell in love with these  gorgeous mosaic floor tiles– they look salt-glazed with tones soft blue and sand. Sorry!  Still searching for the source (a small tile place in California).





So…  warm white all around with bronze finishes, dark woods and neutral artwork– these are a series of  sepia photographs (evocative of our sojourn in Sydney) from Robert Billington.





Sweet little basket w/bird  (perfect for little hair bands, etc)  from Wisteria adds a bit of whimsy.




And a cocoa and cream Turkish fouta towel (thanks Cup of Joe for that idea).








The ‘”pulling back thing” resulted in a perfectly functional, affordable and pretty little bath.  I’m keeping that in mind with this new project as I cruise the aisles at Ann Sacks.  I am splurging on a few little things but so far have resisted the linear shower drains and the rainfall showerhead.  Doing beadboard again… painted the perfect “off-white”, of course.


Another post.




Paint: C2 Color Milk Mustache

Toilet: Toto

Undermount Sink and Bathtub: Kohler

Shower and sink faucets: Kohler

Countertop:  Caesarstone in ‘Jerusalem Sand’

Sconces: Restoration Hardware

Vanity: Ballard Designs

Medicine Chest: Rejuvenation


Until next time~