Why I can’t stop playing the field.

Welcome back Amigos!

Throughout the years I’ve read advice from designers who’ve said, if you want a smokin’ house, PICK A STYLE and stick to it!

Say what!?!  Just one?!?!  Panic.  ‘Cummon, it’s easier to pick a mate than one measly style!!

It’s just plain unnatural to cuddle up with one style all the rest of your days (well, until you redecorate, at least.)  Mixing it up is part of our DNA and hey, it keeps things interesting… there always seems to be a new trend that comes along and seduces you a little…and you can’t help yourself to a few Japanese vases, only to come eye-to-eye with an early American that’s got gorgeous bones, but your mother is pushing Greek Revival, when along comes Louis XV to put you in a tailspin.  Yes.  You always go back to old faithful, but (can we all agree?), it can be pretty fun to play the design field.  And all that enjoyment, leads to the creation of an incredibly pleasurable space.

Case in point…

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My Favorite! Love the panels, suzani and (yowzer) the Monroe photograph. I might feel weird, though, sleeping with the vultures watching overhead.

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If you can’t have fun in your home, then where can you?!?  Never settle for just one style… at least when it comes to decorating with your eye candy, I can testify that English, French, and that sophisticated Mid-Century, can all get along very well.

 

Principles of Design – Mark Hampton Part 1

Hellosie Design Aficionados!

When you really love something, don’t you just want to know everything about it?!  I realize that this need to know everything is not always the best way to go about a love affair, but when it comes to design, yes, go all single white female on that B. (And when it comes to lovin’ your significant other, maybe tread lightly when you’re studying the inner depths of their psyche.)

I’ve come to believe that learning about the history and principles of design is just as important as actually practicing them.  It will ultimately make us better at what we love and (bonus!) we’ll sound very smarty-pants at parties.  For that reason, I’d love to share some tidbits that I’ve found interesting in books that are currently on my nightstand.  Today, I’m just finishing up Mark Hampton Decorates, which actually began as a collection of essays that he put together for a magazine and later turned into a relaxing, insightful read.  And although I can’t say that I favor his traditionalism, I have found some nuggets in there to take to heart.

Mark firmly believed that decorating is fun and that it should be enjoyed; The thrill of the hunt for the perfect piece is the best part.  Agreed!!  Here is a space he designed which looks like it just came out of Architectural Digest!

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Hampton also heavily advocated small sitting areas within larger spaces.  He says that it’s more comfortable for guests when they can have a variety of seating options (like higher chairs for older people, or deeper seating for lazing) and have the ability to move seats around to create pockets of conversation.  One thing that got me, was that he recommended using those “off-limit” rooms to make them more, shall I say, enticing.  Once a year for the holidays is not enough!  I have a living room that rarely gets used by guests, probably because it seems restricted – we don’t use it on the daily, so why would our guests go in there?  The kids run all over it, so there’s nothing too fancy schmancy in there (well, not anymore!) but Mark’s commentary made me see that when a room is not used it looks/feels stagnant and lifeless.

*Homework for me – Use my living room to see what I can do to make her more inviting!  Crudités anyone?!

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“The single greatest vulgarity in interior decoration is pretentiousness.  Understatement is a pain in the neck sometimes, but it is a good thing to keep in mind even when you are contemplating some ravishing excess.  Where rich materials are concerned, good judgement is required.”  Mark Hampton

The dining room is from 1989, so clearly Marky-mark knew what he was talking about.  Good design, stands the test of time.  Have fun, enjoy your spaces!  But don’t be all pretentious about it, sheesh!

So, let’s us pour a glass of whatever in our forbidden rooms to him.  He certainly made traditional cool.

What’s under my hood? And a neat gift idea.

It’s the humpty hump day!  I meant Wednesday, you sickos!!

I’m sure you’re all dying to know what I’m cookin with over here?  What’s under my hood?  Or, in plain ol’ terms, what kind of sewing machine I’ve got?  Well, I upgraded a few months ago to the Brother SE4oo, which is a combo sewing and embroidery machine.

For any of you that have ventured into the world of embroidery, you know those machines are not cheap.  In fact, Damn, Gina!  They are ex-pen-sive!!  I’m talking 2k at the lower end.  Did your jaw just drop?!?

That’s why I ended up with this machine.  It does embroidery on a 4×4 hoop (that’s pretty small) but, it does a pretty good job for a machine that’s in the 300 range.  (Love that movie, btw – We are Sparta!!)

As a father’s day gift for my uncle that literally has everything, I decided I would embroider some stuff.  I figured dish towels are always a necessity.  Snagged these at TJ Maxx for under 10.

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I knew I wanted to do an M monogram, so I marked off the middle with pencil.

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Are you freaking out because I used pencil?!  I only did that because I knew I was going to wash the towels after to remove the stabilizer.  Which brings me to a super duper key part – the stabilizer.  It’s a must.  But who wants some cardboard chunk on the back of their towel?  No one, that’s who.  So get this stuff… it dissolves in water and is very fancy.

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I actually bought this on Overstock.com when I had a coupon and needed to spend a few more bucks to redeem it – so free for me!

Then I carefully sandwiched the fabric in the hoop and made sure the needle lined up with my markings so everything was straight.  (Sounds easy, but take your time on this.)  I used some basic settings… two frames and a letter.  Cute, I think.

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So, is my machine top-o-the-line.  No, not really.  But she does get the job done and since I’ve only embroidered a few things, I’m happy I didn’t shell out the 2k… although, one day, I just might.  Buaaahhhhaaahhhaaa!

PS Look at me Mom, no pencil marks =)