Sunday, August 29, 2010

White is the New Pink

Neutral color pallets are taking the fashion and home decor worlds by storm...

Delicious combinations of creamy off whites are the newest look for fashionable people and their fashionable homes who want to live and look more natural and fresh and fashionable.  I think Amanda and Angelina may have never looked better in these two neutral dresses that I absolutely love.  They both accessorized with another neutral color, black, but neither one looks any less glamorous or put together just because nothing in their outfit 'pops'.  And while I love a good pop of color as much as the next girl, don't you think these dresses and the following homes are so refreshing and calming?
Color Outside the Lines
Color Outside the Lines
Color Outside the Lines
John Jacob Zwiegelaar of John Jacob Interiors, who designed the three rooms above, is a new favorite designer of mine.  He uses almost exclusively neutral colors to create some of the most satisfying living spaces I've seen.  Especially the dining room above...I could eat that whole picture.
Color Outside the Lines
Joni, of Cote de Texas is responsible for this bedroom.  The colors and textures of the fabrics in this room (especially the curtains on the window and the bed) make me so happy.  What an amazing place to go to sleep at night....and maybe stay there all day, too.
Cote de Texas

Cote de Texas
These two rooms are a little bit more rustic than those above, but they are very typical of the Belgian design style which is so very popular right now.  Neutral colors, slip covered chairs and natural textures like concrete, wood and burlap define this style.  I don't think we'll be seeing Angelina in a burlap dress any time soon, but I think she could totally pull it off if she wanted to...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Welcome to my town!

Welcome to my current home town of Alexandria, VA!  Last week was the beginning of the first stretch of days in months that were not oppressively, suffocatingly hot and it was actually bearable to be outside for an extended period of time.  I took advantage of the situation and, after church last Sunday, gave myself a walking tour of some of my favorite houses in Old Town.  The historic streets on which these homes are located are about 3-4 blocks from the harbor and 1-2 blocks from the town center.  The rows of houses are very neat and uniform (in a historic, worn old way) but each of them has some little detail or another which makes it just a little bit distinctive.  From historic decorative casings, to brightly colored doors, to beautiful arrangements of plants on their steps, these little touches are my favorite!
 This is one of the larger houses on these streets and they actually had a little bit of yard in which to plant these two well-proportioned trees. I love how the perfect symmetry of the landscaping, the shiny black door and the bright brass door knocker and letter slot make this house so effortlessly flawless.
Here is another entryway in which symmetry and gleaming brass prevails but you will see that they are not all that way...
The dentil moulding on this casing makes the door look a little frilly to me, but I love the asymmetrical twisted tree by the front door.
Some of the houses have shutters on their front doors, most of them, unlike this one, leading into a small anteroom.  I love the stained wood door with the black and brick.
I include this picture because the warm grey of this door is one of my all time favorite colors.  I also love the transom window above the door (it is very similar to the one over my parents' front door) and the fact that the brick and the steps look so old.  In many of these pictures, including this one, you can see the plaque next to the front door, indicating that these are historic buildings.
I love this peek of a black and white tiled floor in the anteroom.  I think that Dorothy Draper would very much approve.
 I actually don't like this door at all.  I think the bullseye effect and the paint job make it look like a circus house, but I included it anyway because it definitely qualifies as distinctive.
Now my favorite for last.  In my mind, the more ancient the better.  The casing around this door is obviously original, or at least very close.  Although the turquoise color of this door is definitely not historic, I do appreciate the artistic contrast and I think it makes a beautiful photograph.  I just wish they would take better care of their potted plants and this would be a perfect scene.

I will leave you with Dorothy Draper's thoughts on front doors, from her book Entertaining is Fun!: How to be a Popular Hostess.

"There's nothing in the American Constitution to the effect that all front doors have to be white or dark green.  Have you ever considered the possible charm of a turquoise-blue door in a pale gray stucco house, with boxes of frilly pink petunias under the front windows and a pair of dwarf apple trees beside the steps?  Or a glowing Chinese yellow door, like one of Van Gogh's sunflowers, in a dark timbered house?  Think of the mystery that would seem to lie behind the door of a white house that was painted the color of blue gentians in the sun ... Your home's welcome begins right at the front door.  If you can make that welcome cheery and friendly simply through the use of a quart of paint and a few hours with the paintbrush, why not do it?"

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Just Getting Started

Most of us are just getting started at something.  Some are just getting started in married life, some are just starting their families, and some others of us, like me, have only just been introduced to the real world and can’t wait to get going!  I am working at my first real job in Washington, DC and living in beautiful Alexandria, VA.  I live in a historic neighborhood in an adorable brick house with my cat, Daphne, and two other roommates: one human and one dog.

I’m so excited to share my very first blog post and I thought a good place to start would be with some of my absolute favorite photos and why I love them.
A Country Farmhouse

Trina, of A Country Farmhouse, posted this photograph of the summer version of her kitchen and I love everything about it.  I love the shining butcher block counter top, the fresh, open shelving with assorted tarnishing silver thrown in with gleaming white dishes, the old photographs (especially the owl) and the small, low bunches of roses fresh from her garden.  I want to have this exact same kitchen in my house -  I wouldn't change a thing!
absolutely beautiful things
Little Green Notebook

These two photos look like they could be from the same house to me.  I love a lot of colors on walls but my absolute favorite rooms are always fresh white with plenty of bright light coming in from big windows.  You do have to worry about making sure the white seems fresh rather than stark, though, and both of these rooms accomplish this by carrying the white into other elements of the room (the furniture and lamp in the top room, and the dishes in the bottom) with the addition of a bright spot of cheerful color and sophisticated fabrics.
The Decorista

Are you detecting a theme yet with the bright white walls?  I love white paired with beautiful wood, the collection of mismatched frames and plenty of bright light.  This photo has a lot in common with the first photo of the kitchen with its white shelving and walls, wooden butcher block counter and assortment of silver, dishes and frames.  Both photos also add just a touch of light pink, with the roses in the kitchen and some of the art on the wall here.
Domino: the Book of Decorating

There are a few things I love about this photo.  I love the restful color pallet of the greens and blues, the delicate sophistication of the chinoiserie wallpaper, and the pairing of the simple wooden table with the more exaggerated silver and blue velvet bench.  This combination of wood and silver was the inspiration for the desk and chair in my bedroom, which I will share with you soon.
House Beautiful via Little Green Notebook

Another chinoiserie wallpaper that I love.  I'm not sure that I could actually sleep in this room, but I love to look at its photo!  I also like this photo because I think the choices of fabric (a masculine look on the main bed, and a traditional quilt on the trundle) are so daring paired with the wallpaper.  Neither the wallpaper nor the bedspreads are at all retiring or apologetic but somehow they live in harmony in this bedroom.
Little Green Notebook

I absolutely love a shiny black door, and will probably do a post about them in the very near future.  I especially love them when they are paired with this warm almost-brown grey wall, a masculine black leather chair with rows of neat gold studs, and wide, white crown molding and baseboards.  I love the contrast of the casual gallery wall with the stateliness of these elements.  The only thing I don't like about this room is the overly ornate mirror which I think looks a tiny bit comical in this otherwise elegant space.

Looking at these favorite photos has already given me so many ideas for future posts that I have had to start writing them down in a notebook!  Until next time...