01/12/2018

Conceal Television Wires with a Television Console

There are some things that should never be revealed: bra straps, teeth stained with red wine, political fanaticism and television wires. The inevitable acceptance of granting a television access in the family room escalates into more cable channels, media devices and the uncertain welcome of xBox. A setup bulging with electronics cause cringe-worthy moments for the most adept designers. Solutions include slide down screen, situating the television within an armoire or that flat screen behind a painting trick. For this room, the right television console (or media cabinet for your web searches) has the ability to make a television appear part of the decor and conceal unsightly wires for a designed look.

The right television console can make design-challenged electronics look like part of the decor.

Media cabinets do not have to intimidate or look sterile. Countless options abound. Simply find a piece that seamlessly connects to your room’s scheme within your budget. In this room the style transitioned from an antique, eclectic look to a more streamlined clean and modern style. The inclusion of this single television console from AllModern omitted messy strands of wires and added a contemporary feel to the scheme.

Television Console: Before & After

 

White Television Console: Shop the Look:
  1. Rove Concepts 2. Pier 1  3. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Storage Chest 4. Arhaus Furniture media cabinet 5. Premier Housewares 6. AllModern TV Stand

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01/07/2018

Prep Style – Today’s Classics

Nostalgists for authentic ‘80s trends swoon over plaid worn with heavy stockings, headbands and oversized sweaters. Coming off a year when emojis starred in their own movie, loud prints and monograms, symbols of prep style, seems quaint.

Elements of a preppy’s life.

 

The 1980’s saw the rise of spiked hair, slashed shirts and shoulder pads but there was also a sophisticated side to the decade, embodied in preppies, a word originating from prep school.

Pearls, plaid and a monogrammed jewelry case from Marley Lilly.

 

Traditional pieces and prints, such as tote bags, plaids and aviators, still hold today and are available from such venerable companies as L.L. Bean to newer outfitters like Smathers & Branson. Here, we round up classic prep pieces that endure.

Preppy palettes transition from navy and hunter green to bright pastels.

Classic Prep Pieces: Enduring Style
  1. Seagrass tote 2. Pareo 3. Gray Marlin slip ons 4. Pom pom sun hat 5. Argyle socks 6. Loafers 7. Pink Giraffe bag 8. Charm bracelet 9. Headband 10. Duck boots 11. Freedom throw blanket 12. Key fob

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01/01/2018

Decorate with Statement Pieces

While dominant furnishings ground a room it’s the supporting accents that make a lasting impression. To enter the annals of true design as an artistic, personalized form you follow a few basic principles, notably melding disparate pieces with an unified thread, and then abandon the rules. It begins with an inherent understanding of your style, which directs the acquisition pursuit. The process is imprecise, less formulaic than an overly designed look where some showcase homes appear to be domesticated hotel rooms. When you decorate with statement pieces take a confident approach. They will fit into your scheme because they were acquired based on an initial attraction. The theory may sound like a guide in finding true love and, in fact, the same edicts apply. When you choose a significant other, in human or inanimate form, it’s that over-the-moon electricity that separates a nice, safe relationship to one that has passion.

Add like-minded accents to support the main piece through color and scale.

 

Accent pieces have passion. They are bolder than a simple, quality sofa or solid wooden table but there needs to be stylistic relief in an overly prescribed design. Whether it’s the artistry found in a chair’s silhouette or captivating materials and colors, such accessories command an environment. Risks are encouraged and there will be some pairings that do not fit, which is part of the process in achieving the destined look.

A coffee table book with a striking cover commands the table.

 

Design

Consider an overall summation of your favorites styles, research inspirational sources, then begin the search. Today’s world is, literally, available as a shopping destination. In a time where you can buy sea glass in a crafts store or blank coffee table books whose sole purpose is their embellished spine, pieces with substance are especially valued. Emphasize authenticity regardless if their provenance is a leading auction house or online find, something made well endures.

A bold chair is the accent piece that pairs well with other like-minded accents like art, linens and even a market bag.

Color

Long before experts anointed trending colors, choose a palette that stimulate you. Naturally we will be guided what designers and artists are using but inevitably the choice is yours.

Wallpaper, art and a dash of color compose the vignette.

 

Palettes

For some and there is a liberal acceptance of color, which is why a compilation of varying shades will exquisitely come together in great masterpieces. To keep it from looking like a child’s spinning wheel select a few primary colors and add accents that support the theme—the look will produce surprising results. Unconventional pairings create a stunning effect, such as aqua and yellow or orange and gold. Accent pieces such as pillows, throws and art are the best way to introduce vibrant pops of color as they are easy to weave into a design over principle furniture.

A simple bunting makes a simple, stunning statement.

 

Statement pieces:

Make your standard utilitarian furniture radiate by pulling in accents to compose a style. These include:

Chairs

Lighting

Art

Objects

Books

Flowers

Even a table setting or coffee table arrangement can dramatize a look. Whatever inspires will guide the look

 

Decorating the table is an opportunity to create a spectacle.

 

Resources

Gold desk: Studio Ten 25

Grace: 30 Years of fashion at Vogue: Phaidon

Orange chair: Taylor Burke Home

Market bag with orange handles: Jeanne Beatrice

Art: ducks goose

Sola pineapple wallpaper: Aimee Wilder

Bunting: etsy

Salt cellars: Ruby Lane

Gold placemats: Chilewich

BIA Cordon Bleu cake stand: Wayfair

Bistro dinner plates: Fiesta

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12/22/2017

Ultimate Winter Guide – 33 Activities

Even the chirpiest optimist can become an Eeyore once winter doldrums hit, making any event an opportunity to bemoan the cold. To remedy the season’s challenged climate, we look to Scandinavia’s ritual of hygee that honors simple comforts and a healthful approach. Winter activities and an attention to nurturing rituals will transform the cold season into an anticipated time of year.

Winter Activities to Beat Cold Weather Doldrums

1. Layer pieces: Find enjoyment from the art of bundling up. Winter layering can be found in everything from decor, cooking and clothing. Your cold weather wardrobe checklist should include long johns, wooly garments, boots, trapper hats, scarves, mittens and insulated coats. The result shows personal style to keep you warm and more enthused to engage in outdoor winter activity.

Make dressing for the outdoors an event.

 

2. Winter activities: Carve a day around ice skating, skiing, snow shoeing, sledding–cold weather sports invigorate.

Sledding is a simple form of fun that never tires, aside from all the extra runs.

 

3. Cook, eat: Treat yourself to comfort food staples, notably soups, chili and slow cooking recipes.

Making and eating chili, along with homemade bread, is a winter mainstay.

 

4. Light candles: The moody glow of candles create an atmosphere. For those who have a fireplace, keep it active.

From a single candle to enough lights to illuminate a church, candle light is a simple environment-builder.

 

5. Keep a journal: Journal writing is the best way to chronicle your life and record everyday accounts.

Pen to paper–journal writing builds your mind and is a tangible account of one’s experiences.

 

6. Antiquing/flea markets: Forego scanned items and shop for the most authentic wares. The event will also connect you with interesting people and things.

Finding one-of-a-kind-pieces at antique store makes for an interesting day.

 

7. Read: Build your library, make a point to read each day, and consider joining a book club.

An attention to book display creates an environment and encourages reading.

 

8. Themed nights: Create an evening around a fun activity such as chess, games, homemade pizza, ice cream for dinner.

The timeless pleasure of board games.

 

9. Volunteer: Assist a charity, which is a great way to support a cause and make new connections.

Volunteering has many benefits, including assisting a charity and making new connections.

 

10. Museums: Look into current exhibitions or use free time as an opportunity to escape to a museum, which will inspire at any age.

View from Manhattan’s Guggenheim to take in works of art within a work of art.

 

11. Watch the world outside your window: One of those simple rituals that is remarkably restorative. Staring at something other than a computer screen also works.

Watching the entertainment from your own window.

 

12. Movies: Attending a film in the true intention of cinema–popcorn, plush seats, large screen, surround-sound, IMAX–is a great way to carve in some excitement to an otherwise dreary evening.

Films are the best way to escape your reality for awhile.

 

13. Home projects: Refresh with paint, wallpaper, and treat those home upgrades you have been putting off as a fun project.

Wallpaper a wall for a new look.

 

14. Participate in local activities: From the YMCA to historical societies, add your name to event lists.

 

15. Day trips: Explore nearby destinations for a memorable trip without major travel upheaval.

Being introduced to a new place expands your horizon.

 

 16. Sporting events: Whether it’s your son’s fencing match or an arena outing, watching a game is a fun group activity.

Sports outings rev up the mood, even if you are a bystander.

 

17. Indoor sports/join a gym: Continue the athletic trend by joining a gym. Try out new activities that may become a lifelong favorite.

Taking on new heights.

 

18. Learn something new: Engaging your mind culturally and artistically is the renaissance way. Learn a language, instrument, how to cook–the options are boundless.

Learn guitar, add music to your environment.

19. Music appreciation: Sample a different channel on YouTube, discover new bands, attend a concert.

20. Impromptu walks: From sunset to dusk, your regular route takes on changing expressions on a winter day.

 

Finding new effects in the moods of a sunset.

 

21. Photography: Commemorate even the most banal moments and test your techniques.

Play with different settings, backgrounds and styles to create original imagery.

 

22. Enroll in a class: From Watercolor Basics to Food Culture among Romance Languages (offered at Harvard), education is not just about going to a good school and embarking in the real world, education is a luxury.

Enrichment programs are both enlightening and restorative.

 

23. Create a spa day: Try household items to treat yourself to a high end spa treatment.

Make a fruit mask with mashed berries, banana and honey.

 

24. Roast marshmallows outdoors: S’mores are more fun in the winter.

Roasting on an open fire, just be sure to stay away from the smoky side.

 

25. Explore a nature center: Indoors or outdoors, nature center’s are a gentle reminder of a life lived in unison with the outdoors.

Nature centers encourage a life connected to the outdoors.

 

26. Recreate a historical snow day: Back when heat was fueled by coal and you wore kerchiefs to bed, a reminder of how tough our ancestors were in handling the cold.

An old-fashioned horse drawn buggy in the snow eludes to more romantic times.

 

27. Create a scavenger hunt in your library: Be creative and use the corridors, shelves and special nooks in your library as a scavenger Mecca.

See our library in a new way by creating a scavenger hunt.

 

28. Visit thrift store and yard sales: There is something comforting and nostalgic when connecting with other people’s castoffs. Perhaps you may even score that priceless find.

Sifting through other people’s former goods for your own find. Bargains abound and proceeds support a cause.

 

29. Chop wood: It doesn’t get any simpler than the ax to wood moment on a chopping block, call it “utility therapy.”

A winter’s worth of wood made from a therapeutic activity.

 

30. Make maple syrup: Surprisingly simple and delicious, look into local offerings or consider a beginner’s kit.

Find out places that hold maple syrup making classes or research via online.

 

31. Add lighting: Place light sources in any vacant space and upgrade to LED bulbs, which is a nod to the environment and better long time investment.

Arresting lighting fixtures with dimmers lifts the spirit.

 

32. Create a nesting environment: Comfort is defined in layers of blankets, robes, throw pillows, hot water bottles, slippers in every room… Use color to rev up a space. Blend textiles together for a natural den that exudes organic luxuries.

A compilation of linens in vibrant colors creates the ideal winer nest.

 

33. Flowers: Fresh blooms, fruit or natural elements are available year round, creating a warm seasonal mood despite what the forecast may say.

Bring in flowers or natural elements to your spaces to trick the senses of what time of year it may be.

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12/14/2017

Holiday Helper – Reusable Gift Wrap

Wrapping paper, scissors, gift wrap, tape and a sea of unwrapped presents, to some and the sight has the same reaction as surgical tools on a dental tray. Take the angst out of holiday wrapping by using reusable gift wrap options, such as fabric coverings or leftover boxes and decorative ribbon. You’ll save countless hours, no paper cuts, it’s good for the environment and this holiday changer is as simple as inserting a gift into a bag and tying a bow.

An eco-friendly, stress-free approach to presents with reusable coverings.

The Japanese, who are masters in transforming lifestyle rituals into a simple model of efficiency, have been on to wrapping gifts in fabric long before it was ecologically savvy. In the same decorative, creative manner as dressing in a kimono, the art of Furoshiki bundles up presents in folds of fabric.

Following the Japanese custom of Furoshiki, which uses fabric to conceal gifts.

Stock up on reusable gift wrap in an assortment of festive styles and sizes to use every year. It just may thrust paper holiday wrapping into the same novelty category as canned snow and colored blinking lights.

Resources:

 

Colorful reusable bags: VZ Wraps

Classic reusable bags: Enfold

 

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12/08/2017

Ultimate Hot Chocolate Bar

Hot chocolate deserves its proper pageantry, which means avoid adding boiling water to the contents of a foil-lined package. When made with real cocoa and embellished with an assortment of toppings, this warm winter mainstay will become your drink of choice no matter what the season. Delight your guests with the ultimate hot chocolate bar for an easy, warm winter event.

Hot chocolate is the main event of this seasonal gathering.

 

Guests will enjoy making their own beverage while sampling new ways to create a winter drink staple.

Cocoa powder and shaved coconut, naturally decadent.

What you’ll need for a hot chocolate bar:

Use elegant small plates for the embellishments: real cocoa, sugar, coconut, candy, whipped cream.

Organic candy cane stirrers adorned with seasonal candies.

Recipe for one cup:

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon cocoa powder

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

Scoop powder and sugar in cup and add hot water. Garnish with coconut, crushed chocolate, whipped cream or cinnamon and a candy cane stirrer.

 

Bring in colorful accents that give the setting a festive jolt.

Resources:

Hammersmith Gold Teacup: http://www.mikasa.com/tea-cups-and-saucers/hammersmith-gold/tea-cup/5117476.html#q=gold%20cup&start=0&hitcount=4

Hot Chocolate: http://www.woodhousechocolate.com/dark-hot-chocolate

Cocoa Powder: https://www.valrhona-chocolate.com

Organic Candy Canes: http://wholesomesweet.com/product/organic-candy-canes/

Organic Delish Fish:  http://wholesomesweet.com/product/organic-delishfish/

Chocolates: https://www.ashers.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=christmas&x=0&y=0

A Little Princess: http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/316849/a-little-princess-by-frances-hodgson-burnett/9780147513991

Nest Holiday Candle: https://www.nestfragrances.com/shop-by-collection/seasonal-collections/holiday

Ziggy Dessert Spoons: https://www.frenchbull.com/products/ziggy-dessert-spoon-set-of-6

 

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12/03/2017

The Meghan Markle Effect

The last time we saw an American actor who snagged a prince was with Grace Kelly. Iconic Grace is a lofty comparison but Meghan Markle is primed for the role. In a country where our royalty is NFL quarterbacks, film stars and the Kardashians, having one of our own marry a royal generates excitement. Markle is a worthy ambassador of our nation.

Meghan Markle bids farewell to her acting career and lifestyle site, The Tig, to move onto more royal matters. Photo courtesy of The Tig.

This is what we adore about Meghan Markle:
  1. Smart: A degree from Northwestern confirms this.
  2. Creative and savvy: Markle was a calligrapher to earn extra dollars while she entered the acting game.
  3. Talented: She blows up the screen with her presence.
  4. Multi-racial: Another role model to integrate colors.
  5. An advocate: She speaks of gender equality, visits refugee camps, and is a feminist in a gentler form. Her beliefs are innate, she is bi-racial, and at age 11 she wrote Proctor & Gamble to edit their Ivory dish soap campaign, which stated that “women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.” P&G changed “women” to “people”.
  6. Understated: She is not a walking bling advertisement pushing brands but has her own crisp style that isn’t as fussy as your typical royal.
  7. Character: She has rescue dogs.

To have a public figure who is likable, genuine with a distinct beauty, and poised to be a public figure with a more substantive direction than a group of reality stars moaning about calorie intake, Meghan Markle is a personality of note.

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11/30/2017

Christmas Decorating Details with Taste

When it comes to adding all the fa la la to a holiday home, the tree can become an afterthought. Becoming reacquainted with your decorations, along with other festive pieces used in all seasons, you can achieve Christmas decorating pizzaz simply and beautifully.

Metallic ornaments in soft, trending colors do not need a tree to shine.

The other holiday go-to that delights the senses is food. Christmas cookies, candy and even boxed brownies spruced with red and green sprinkles can achieve instant oomph.

Festive cookies set with springs of herbs, vintage Christmas tree balls, over a handmade placemat made from Midori gift wrap.

While there will always be a craving for gingerbread and candy canes during the holiday, food does not have to be Christmas themed to have value. This also applies to everyday favorites like your child’s toys or mittens, which can add a personalized touch to a holiday vignette.

Create your own Christmas spectacle by following a few basic tips:
  1. Look to tree ornaments in new ways, such as adding flair to vacant, fragile-friendly spaces or shiny ornamentation in a table setting.
  2. Wrapping paper can do double duty as placemats or wallpaper.
  3. Treat any visual edible as an opportunity to embellish a vignette.
  4. Keep some of the Christmas decoration boxes in storage and look to everyday items as holiday props. Such decorating thriftiness will be even more valued once the holiday is over and cleanup begins.

Baked goods and candy highlighted on gold trimmed dessert dishes create a sophisticated, personalized look.

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11/24/2017

16 Need-It-Now Velvet Luxuries for the Season

It may upgrade a box to highlight a precious gem but velvet has its own cache. The soft textile with its iridescent effect can either veer into the tacky (Prince’s purple getup, the interior of a party van) or classic (girl’s Christmas dresses, the lining of the queen’s crown). Velvet is making a comeback as the material used in styled ways, which is the luxury must-have of the season.

The beauty in loose ribbon from the Ribbon Jar.

We round up our velvet favorites that are not just in expected black. In fact, consider something pink, which is making appearances in a variety of pieces.

  1. Wide-brimmed hat 2. Blush sneakers 3. Luis mules 4. Vix choker necklace 5. Gloss slipper pillow 6. Jogger pants 7. Emmie flats 8. Heritage deep-V dress 9. Baseball hat 10. Grandy bootie 11. Velvet silk scarf 12. Luxe quilt 13. Matrix blush sofa 14. Pegasus slipper 15. Leo clutch

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11/18/2017

Simplify the Thanksgiving Celebration

There is something intimidating by the carcass of a turkey with its epic preparation. The sides are another challenge and, god help them, some of your guests may expect marshmallows in their sweet potatoes or gravy made from the gizzards. Keep the bah humbug in the next holiday and focus on what makes the event an annual highlight, simplify Thanksgiving in a relaxed manner with some preparation and less rules.

Using everyday tableware meant one less task from not having to excavate the good china, which is spruced with accents for a more personalized, laid back gathering.

How to Simplify Thanksgiving:
  1. Eschew the customary rigmarole of polishing silver and organizing the wedding china by using what you have. Add personalized details like gilded placemats and decorative food as props.
  2. Consider scale in your tablescape. Cake plates elevate the style of desserts, a pedestal bowl of apples and teacups of dried fruit and candies are both decorative and offer the guests varied options to entice the senses.
  3. Flowers are always a table setting must but rather than choose expected fall arrangements with lots of sunflowers and coffee berries, try something more elegant but seasonal-friendly with orange dipped roses. Three day blooms add to the romance.
  4. Paper napkins are acceptable when they hallmark the season and look less papery when complimented by other notes on the table.
  5. Candlelight does not only have to be illuminated from a candelabra, a simple votive also achieves a comforting look

 

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