“Skiff Waiting”

February 7, 2013



Had a late afternoon visit recently with a favorite client. Over a cup of tea, we had a little ‘catch up’ on the progress (almost finis) of her historic bungalow renovation.  I would say that any major design project is rarely a neat process– there are almost always surprises, delays, disappointments, and indecision. Spaces we inhabit are wrapped up with emotion– a messy business, for sure. But I must say that this project actually was (after MANY months) sort of “wrapped up” with a pretty little bow–and just in time for the holidays.



Skiff Waiting


The dust had settled, furniture returned and wreaths hung. And on Christmas Eve my client’s husband presented her with this sweet little watercolor. It shows their beloved dog, Skiff, waiting (for someone to come home) at the window of their newly painted front library. Skiff is certainly the star of this show but C2Paint ‘Savannah’  most definitely plays a supporting role!








The library is the center ‘cocoon’ space in this house with the new addition (open family room, dining room and kitchen)wrapping around it. We felt pretty strongly that this little space (original to the house) needed a strong + warm color to make it inviting and cozy. It was christened ‘The Savannah Room”.





A light neutral, Benjamin Moore’s Misty Air,  was chosen for the entry and staircase walls. The color is repeated on the ceiling of the library (above).





Benjamin Moore’s White Dove was used on all trim and casework throughout.











The real challenge was to choose a wall color for the main open space (kitchen, dining room, family room). Fixed elements were the soft white cabinetry and trim, the red oak+pine floors and exposed brick.  We needed a warm /versatile neutral and found the answer in the C2 Paint range:



I absolutely LOVE this color– a complex khaki whose undertones change with the light throughout the day.  Designer Whitney Stewart is also pretty crazy about it. She gushes, “This is it, a soft camel that has red and green and yellow in it. That’s why it goes with everything… When a color transcends itself to coordinate with so many different colors and still retains warmth, it jumps to that ethereal level. It’s a color you just love to be around. You would feel like a million dollars in a family room, a living room, a kitchen painted this color.”






On opposite sides of the main room are two small spaces (zen den and office). We chose greenish neutrals (Benjamin Moore Nantucket Gray and Dry Sage) to create a subtle shift from the more golden Enoki.








And a sweet little powder room gets a shot of Benjamin Moore “Tropical Dusk”— a beautiful complement to the greens and golds outside the door.





And as for Skiff?





He sat very patiently for this shot.  I’m know he’s happy that pesky hammering has stopped. And, perched high upon his throne in ‘The Savannah Room’,  he enjoys a  great “room with a view”– outside and in.





Looking for C2 Paint in the DC metro area ?  You can find this gorgeous collection of hand-crafted color  (and large samples) at Potomac Paint.



Where Gray Works in the Kitchen

January 26, 2013



Gray… at least 50 shades of it,  is still going strong in DC interiors these days. And suddenly, everyone seems to want “Tuscany” out of the kitchen.





I view gray as a neutral, but it can be tricky to work with.  When layering grays and other neutrals, there are those pesky undertones that come into play (grays have an undertone of either violet, blue or green). But another important factor to consider when “going gray” in a kitchen is how to balance it with warmer elements so you don’t end up stirring your marinara sauce in what feels like a chilly operating room.  Here are 15 “gray” kitchens that manage to achieve that balance.



via Willow Decor


This is one of my favorites– designed by Jeanne Rapone and Bronwyn McCarthy Huffard. The weight of the dark cabinetry is balanced by the soft, light floors and a fabulous pop of yellow on the door and rug (below).


via Willow Decor



Here, the austerity of the gray and stainless steel surfaces is balanced by the texture of baskets and rustic wood floor.



via House and Home



Pattern comes into play with this gorgeous marble backsplash and  chevron rug. But the warm orange tone of the floor pairs perfectly with the soft blue-toned gray cabinetry.


via Design Sponge


There is nothing soft, warm or quiet about this next kitchen… but what fun!  The Decor Demon is obvioulsy no “shrinking violet”.


via Decor Demon



via Casa Suga



The  kitchen below is uber elegant  and soft with glints of polished chrome– but the sight lines take us into what looks like a warm wood paneled library.


via Better Homes and Gardens



Again, wood floors are an important component here.  Cabinetry (below) is painted in Benjamin Moore Gentle Gray, with uppers lightened by 50%.



via Remodelista



From across the pond, the sublime work of Plain English.  The soft chalky finishes on floor and cabinetry are just beautiful.



via Plain English



Below… a two-toned cabinet treatment with walls and upper cabinets ‘Lime White’; lower cabinets,  ‘Mouse’s Back’ ; window sashes and doors, ‘Stoney Ground’ (all Farrow & Ball).



via Urban Grace Interiors



Below, Benjamin Moore ‘Storm’  is paired with a warm gold wall color and chesnut flooring. Works.


via Benjamin Moore



And here, a subtle treatment of Benjamin Moore ‘Gray Owl’ on the cabinets with a warm, rustic wide-planked pine floor feels warm and cozy.



via A Perfect Gray



And Martha always gets things right in the kitchen.  Here, cabinets are painted in Bedford Gray.



via Martha Stewart



This Sally Wheat  kitchen (below)) went viral in the blogosphere for a reason–  cabinets painted in Benjamin Moore ‘Fieldstone’.


via Cote de Texa


And next, a warm gray marries beautifully with an antique pine table  (I love this one).





There are many good tutorials out there on painting kitchen cabinets. One of the better ones is here. Most major cabinetry lines are now offering a nice range of gray finishes.  Crown Point Cabintery  offers beautiful custom painted finishes in the Farrow & Ball range.  And appliance manufacturers are getting in on the act.  GE has debuted a new finish called  “Slate”



via Plain and Fancy






But of course another way to get gray into the kitchen is to pair a great gray wall color with white cabinetry. Another post. Another day.






Until next time… thanks for dropping by!




~Delightful~ Disorder in the Bedroom

January 18, 2013



Years ago, as an architect was walking through the second floor hallway of my house, she remarked “You know what  you do with these kids’ rooms, right?”  And she slammed the doors shut.



the desk



With the holiday stuff finally hauled back to the attic and my daughter returned to college, I’ve turned my ~tepid~ attention to her bedroom. We’re packing the whole thing up in preparation for refinishing the oak floors.  To be honest, I’ve paid scant attention to her room over the past few years (like never go in there) but got a little nostalgic today looking around. Got me thinking about kids rooms in general and the reality of what they look like most of the time.



shoe pile #2



If you have a teenager (unless they have an oddly minimalistic bent), their rooms are usually a mess, right?  Lots of stuff laying in lots of piles– most of it important and not to be touched by anyone but themselves. Ever.





But in fairness to my daughter, she’s just a little messy some of the time. There are also some very pretty little vignettes to be snapped– her room is quite nice and filled with the things she loves.  She chose the deep peacock wall color–  “Bluebeard ”  from C2 Paint.





An antique headboard covered in brown toile is certainly “grown-up”  but whimsical enough to feel right with the room’s “bohemian” vibe.





Floaty, embroidered floor to ceiling drapery panels are from World Market.





Art that she loves:



pop art



Warhol. And more Warhol.






Pretty, yes?  But for kids, especially teenagers, it’s only a matter of time before the “Hello Kitty” stickers, posters, ticket stubs and swim team photos start going up on that nice new coat of paint– with bad, sticky tape or worse.  So…. back to the real reason I started this post– to talk about one little (actually kinda big) thing that can help corral some of this stuff in one place and “save” your walls.







It’s called Homosote. Probably never heard of it.  But it is sold at your local Home Depot and can be cut and covered with fabric to create a large bulletin board. There is a fabulous link on all about how to do this here.  For teenagers’ rooms, I love to use the entire 4×8 panel– floor to ceiling. This is my daughter’s accumulation of 4 years of “stuff”  (don’t look too closely).






When it comes to kids’ rooms– you gotta relax.  It’s their space… they’ll find a way to express themselves there one way or another, but you can actually help them do that.

Shut the door if you must.






And always say YES to cats and dogs, but NO to guinea pigs and chipmunks (in the bedroom that is).


+  have a great weekend! 






A Capitol Hill Beauty

January 14, 2013



Made another visit over to Capitol Hill over the weekend and snapped a photo of one of my favorite exterior projects. It usually takes forever for things to get wrapped up and tweaked to “perfection” but my client had finally replaced a light fixture and refinished her beautiful mahogany door (with marine varnish). The entry, completed:





Before (tired, peeling, blah…blah):








And after (Benjamin Moore Dorset Gold  HC-8 on the body/ Dark Walnut BMCC 1358 as accent):













Oh how I adore the eclectic architecture in this neighborhood.  Many of these  “pressed brick” townhouses date from the late 1800’s and  have “Italianate” ornamentation.  The paint treatments are all over the map, some more traditional and others really funky and irreverent.














And there is the lively Eastern Market, in full swing on weekends. Check it out, enjoy the stroll and… and be sure to look up while you’re walking!







Eastern Market




Yellow… a lot or just a little

January 10, 2013



Craving a little warmth on this barren January day?


There is always… yellow.



via National Geographic


In its pure clean form, yellow can be overpowering on walls and tricky to work with. But when designers get it right, it can sing.


I love it on the walls of this dining room at  Monticello, balanced by other strong elements (heavy white trim and dark wood furniture and doors). You can read about how this paint color, Ralph Lauren’s ‘Monticello Yellow’, was chosen here:



via Elle Decor


And the designer, Mary Douglas Drysdale, is brilliant at the use of strong yellow on a large scale.



via casart



via the french tangerine


Personally, I love it in very small doses and, like other saturated shades, it can actually be just as powerful used this way.

Take a look.


via houzz



via decor 8



via the style files


via Elle Decor 



source unknown





I hope that warmed you up– a lot, or just a little!

Happy New Year  !