Saturday, March 31, 2012

In celebration of women "of age" & my birthday month

I will be 50 on Easter Sunday this year.
It's lovely this birthday fell on this particular day...
Anniversaries of this sort are a natural cause for reflection and an opportunity to re-define the next chapters.
Don't you love that, opportunities to re-define...
As I think about what inspires me in very simple ways I am struck by the importance of a natural beauty, specific to each of us, and how that is defined in the collective.  I think we would all agree that, at our age, beauty without substance is, well, not interesting (to say the least).
Isn't it really about taking physical, spiritual & emotional care of ourselves,
being our word,
showing UP for people and life,
& staying the course...
with integrity.
It isn't always easy or pretty but if we don't learn and grown from our mistakes, we miss the lesson...
and it's all about what we are learning as we go. 

Here are a couple of simple images that inspire me.
I hope they inspire you to and that you'll tell me about it.
Audrey Hepburn 
1929 - 1993
British actress & humanitarian
Knows who she is...
Knows where she is going....
Confidence & mystery.
The classic leather mini with "sensible" heels. 
Simply sexy. 
The simplicity of elegance. 
Full turtleneck and longer skirt. 
It's about what is not shown. 
No need for commentary...
(Defined by image)
Polka dots and red lipstick - classic elegance.
White linen - simplistic elegance.
Bare feet.  The ultimate in natural elegance. 
Linen shirts and jeans.
Lucchese cowboy boots - Classic Collection
 Red lipstick. 
Love it. 
More to follow...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Elegance of rustic series - This Old House photo-shoot (the masculine element of rustica)

Next month, This Old House magazine will be here for a photo-shoot of "Bella Cottage". 
(see link on the right for a step-by-step story of the re-model). 
 This Old House's audience is 75 percent male so the magazine is always looking for a feminine style to showcase what might also appeal to the male audience. 
Journey with me as I introduce you to a new "client's" file - an avid bow hunter and fisherman - but beware the disclaimer, 
                                   there will be antlers...                                                 
(Work with it girls, as antlers are shed annually)
I introduce "the compromise" here (more later in the post).
Our male counterparts love natural wood (not chippy paint) and if there is any paint to be had it will likely be black or gray.
Trust me when I say they only tolerate our pillows...
See the combination of the feminine and the masculine in both photographs to know...
it can be done. 
Wood +Textures + Antlers
The rustic flooring anchors the room but does not define it. The wood armoire, although lightly washed, maintains the integrity of the natural wood.  The painted side table is in gray tones and displays the clean lines of  a glass collection showcased in front of a heavy, dark wood-framed mirror.
The antlers on the wall tie it all together. 
Restoration Hardware attitude...
Here we have the lighter woods with the mottled natural wall texture with a focal point of...
I could live with this, can you?
How about this....?
Bedrooms. "Just say No" to the log bed and camouflage comforter set and show him these designs.
I am not much for this comforter here either and the amount of pillows is pushing it but there are leather pillows and clean lines and color on the walls
... and antlers.
It works.
I like this. We've got stripes and plaid, black painted wood, 
(white walls & pillows
and antlers...
Makes you think about the possibilities, no?
A pallet as headboard, stripes, gray, and a simple wall adornment...
off-centered antlers 
used for hanging jewelry.
This room is rich with texture & color -
natural wood, navy stripes, lots of light, hearty potted plants,
& perfectly imperfect antler chandelier 
The Art of Compromise
If the photos before these did not do this trick,
 take a look at the next three and see what you think about the combination of washed natural linen and walls, weathered baskets, & shed antlers
                                    The simplicity defines elegance.

The next five photographs speak for themselves. 
This is my couch, Restoration Hardware (The Lancaster), and much coveted by all my male friends as it is the deepest couch you can purchase - perfect for dogs and doubles as a twin bed without the back cushions. 
This look is more traditionally male but elegant nevertheless and "rustica"
Perhaps my favorite photo.  I can never get enough of "menswear" - leather, plaids, contrasting solids - and then there is the brick wall and wide planked worn wood flooring.
Need I say more...?
The barn doors, brick wall, and heavy, natural hewn wood flanked by a single wine barrel for a side table leaves me speechless (a rarity..)
Both feminine and masculine in an earthy, retro sort of way...
Horizontal aged wood walls have a language all their own.
Combine that with a framed aged map or chart, jute rug, & stacked wine crates for storage and an interesting chair (tractor seat stool) and you are here...
Flooring from aged wine crates.  Incredible.
The environment that inspires me.
The image that reminds me of the simplicity and the power of the feminine and masculine together. 
Happy birthday today to Jamie Hodge
thank you for the "push" to another level of inspirazione. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The elegance of rustic series - the rustic bathroom

Euro-chic or elegantly American rustic?
 You decide...
but whatever you do
don't forget The Bathroom.
Oh, the possibilities and as my good friend Emily Dickinson always encourages...

For years I have dreamt of living in a loft replete with bare, brick walls, open beam ceilings, extra large windows and lots of natural light.  Instead, I bring to my homes along the way the best of every one of these elements when I can and how I can.
 You can too.

You just have to decide to dare it...
Adding non-traditional elements - while keeping the standard tub and toilet - is not a difficult as you may think especially if you are re-modeling the bathroom but not increasing the footprint.

 Essentially, then (since toilet and tub remain) you have only to concentrate on creating a sink area.  Wall color and texture is do-able for each of us.  

Like life, the beauty then, is in the details...
 Consider placing the faucet on the wall above the sink rather than the traditional placement and being open to using a non-standard vessel sink that sits atop the vanity
simply a non-standard sink that sits in a non-traditional vanity.

- Paint the door.
- Lighting: Replace the ceiling light fixture with something interesting.  Although I am not much for bling in general, I love it in a small area.
- Frame the shower with a hand-made shower curtain (I would choose burlap) right at ceiling height for added impact 
or frame in the area above the shower, like the photos, if you're not lucky enough to have a shower set behind a wall, as above, and trim out the top.

It can be less than 500 dollars to have a custom table built with open shelving and cutting the hole for your sink into it.  
The cost is in creating the cabinets so...
                                                                            don't have cabinets.  
Use baskets or "skirt" the vanity much like the kitchens in my previous post. 
Who says the mirror has to go directly over the sink? 
Placing it to the side is truly as effective.
This photograph inspired me so much it is included in my blog header.
 Rustic flooring will anchor the non-traditional approach
 so take time to consider all the options. 
Home Depot sells a 24 x 24 honed travertine marble tile in Walnut for $1.88 a square foot.  I installed it in both my kitchen and my bathroom - see below.
(my kitchen)
(my master bath)
I encourage you to create an overall plan so you choose well as you go.
Collect photos of what inspires you and create your canvas from there.
So much worthwhile simply takes time.
Enjoy your creative process and let it feed and take you to new places.
Consider shutters on either side of your window.
Regularly peruse eBay and Craig's List for great deals on fabulous "sinks" and then get creative about having them built into a vanity or mount it directly on the wall.  
With simple baskets and organizational elements, 
you can create a stunning bathroom
 for less than 1000 dollars.