Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

I understand that many women are not good at spatial relations, that is, understanding how objects fit in and move through space. I offer myself as a case study:

Two days ago I made plans to pick up a large hutch that the owner told me was in two pieces, the larger of which was 5’3″ x 4’11” x 18″ deep. She didn’t think it would fit in my Suburban. “Of course it will,” I thought blithely.

But I was wrong.

So yesterday, upon returning without the hutch from her home, I ordered a rental truck from Home Depot. “I’ve got a 16-footer for you, mam,” replied the nice young man on the phone. “Oh, no. I just need a cargo van; I don’t want a box truck!”

Later that day, we made our second trip to pick up the hutch.  It took engineering and muscle power that, honestly, neither the homeowner, my daughter, nor I had just to get the thing out of the house and to the back of the waiting van.  With my dear daughter on one end, the very kind furniture-owner on the other, and me at the end, we realized that, in fact, I needed a box truck.

So, back to Home Depot we went.  I would like to publicly acknowledge my gratitude to the young man who helped us.  He was very efficient, and didn’t once say, “I told you so.”

On our third attempt to retrieve this hulking, impossibly heavy piece of furniture from it’s former residence, we finally succeeded. Plus, into that great big truck went an oak chest, a drop-leaf pedestal table, 3 wicker chairs, a desk, a vase and a can of paint.

Next time I’ll start with the box truck.

Here are some photos of what’s at Chartreuse & co right now (including the infamous hutch).

DSC_0657 DSC_0662 DSC_0663 DSC_0666 DSC_0672 DSC_0676 DSC_0680 DSC_0684

DSC_0695

DSC_0696 DSC_0697 DSC_0699

DSC_0701 DSC_0703 DSC_0707

DSC_0712

DSC_0717 DSC_0723 DSC_0730

DSC_0731

DSC_0733

DSC_0734

DSC_0738

Thanks for reading,
Virginia

Read Full Post »

Check out the January 2013 issue of Southern Living magazine, where Chartreuse & co is featured as a great source in their article, “Instant Furniture Makeovers.”

It’s a great article, full of inspiring ideas – but be forewarned, these makeovers aren’t exactly instant. But they’re worth the effort. Here’s a sampling:

barrell-chair-before-s

Before:  This great little barrel chair definitely needs love, but the shape is great.

barrell-chair-after-s

After:  I would have done something more fun with the fabric, but now it’s fresh and ready for life in your home.

cushy-arm-chair-before-s

Before:  Grandma chairs like this are all around.  It’s not exactly inspiring, but search for one with solid construction, and hand-tied deck (the area that underpins the seat).

club-chair-after-s

After:  Love this transformation.  The decorator has ditched the dated (and not very comfortable) overstuffing in the seat-back, and replaced it with a much sleeker look.  The fabric a great, too.  And it’s so much more up-to-date without it’s skirt.

chairs-s

Before:  shabby set of Swedish-style chairs

chairs-after-s

After:  Love the limed-wood treatment and the oh-so-chic leather seats.

chest-before-s

Before:  plain, serviceable sideboard

chest-after-s

After:  A great accent for any room.  Here it’s pictured working very nicely in the foyer.  I just love the daring use of color, and the oversized vintage knobs make the piece shine.  (The darling little chair beside it is lovely, too.)

sewing-table-before-s

Before:  the always overlooked sewing table.  Yes, there’s a sewing machine inside.

sewing-table-after-s

After:  Remove the sewing machine and, (such a great idea!) paper the table with birch-wood patterned wallpaper.  Just love this one.

january-cover-t

There’s lots more in the magazine, on news stands now.

Have a Happy New Year, and thanks for reading!

Virginia

Read Full Post »

I just love wrapping presents.  I wrap them, stack them, beribbon them.  It just plain makes me happy.  Here’s a little of what I’ve done this year.

The silk duponi ribbon makes this stack of golden packages shine.

The silk duponi ribbon makes this stack of golden packages shine.

DSC_0663

I combined metallic silver mesh ribbon with sheer red for the bow on this one.

DSC_0664

The tone-on-tone of this one was a little more masculine (this stack is for Chip).

DSC_0666

I actually leave this nativity scene out year round.  It’s beautiful in its own right.

DSC_0667

Don’t fear using a big bow or ribbon on a tiny package.  This little box is no more than about 2″x4″, and the bow takes it way up in the “I’ve gotta open this one!” contest.

DSC_0669

Always finish off your packages with an extraordinary gift tag.  Think of the tag as the jewelry that completes the outfit.  Whether simple or over-the-top extravagant, the tag makes the package.  Remember – it’s the first thing the recipient looks at.

DSC_0670

Mix up the wrapping, and pull your presents together with a coordinated bow.  If you don’t have a gift tag that’ll work, tuck a beautiful card in.

DSC_0671

Here’s the riot of packages under our tree right now.  In years past, I’ve used all the same paper and one or two complementary ribbons.  This year the only similarity is the red and gold color scheme.  There are 3 different papers, and countless different ribbons.  I really like this effect.  And it was such fun making each present unique.

DSC_0672

DSC_0674

Try interspersing your greenery and holiday bling through all of your holiday displays.

DSC_0675

The pretty glass angel is a gift I just received this year from my aunt.  She tucked into my holiday greenery so nicely.

DSC_0676

I don’t know about you, but I’m very picky about the faces on my statues.  This little Christ Child is just beautiful.  I was so tickled to find him.

DSC_0677

Always bring as many candles to your dining table as you can fit.  The light is bewitching, and they’re so festive.  The red ones are a great new find from Bella Villa.   It’s a candle and super-ornate candlestick all created from wax – the entire thing burns.  So cool.

DSC_0678

If you love your displays from one season, just tweak it for the next one.  I just loved my sideboard display from fall, so I simply traded out the amber light branches for the frosted white ones.  Then I tucked greenery and glittering silver sprays for a dramatic Christmas effect.

I hope you’re having a warm and peaceful Holiday Season.  It’s actually snowing here today, and we’re having a truly whiter Christmas.  I’m so looking forward to heading out to Christmas Eve Mass in the snow, and walking through the streets of downtown Frederick as it becomes covered in its winter blanket.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Thanks for reading,

Virginia

Read Full Post »

Here’s a few pictures of my fall-decorated dining room. I had a blast putting it together – just in time for my daughters’ birthdays and Halloween.

Hope you like it!

I just love the play of the heirloom pumpkins against the silver candlestick and European sack linen.

 

The graphics of this non-working Big Ben clock on my mantle add some playfulness to the formal room.

 

Okay, so I have a clock thing . . . This one is adorable, and perfect when perched upon these 18th century French books.

 

These candlesticks are a favorite auction find. They’re from a church alter and are the perfect scale for my 11′ ceilings.

 

The mantle. (The bull’s eye mirror is from my grandmother. This spot is exactly where she always had it. When I look through it, it takes me back to my time as a little girls, fascinated by my distorted reflection in the glass.)

 

The sparkling, amber branches give off the perfect warm, fall glow. We leave them on all night as nightlights. (The dining room is the nexus of the house. With 4 doors in and out, you can’t get anywhere in our house without going through the dining room!)

 

 

I love adding an unexpected element to a table vignette. This vintage print was just perfect for my fall composition. The little mouse makes me happy, too!

 

The sideboard was also my grandmother’s, and also in exactly the same spot where she had it.


Thanks for reading!

Virginia

Read Full Post »

Believe it or not, I’ve never actually used chalk paint before yesterday.  I see the beautiful pieces come into the barn.  I see them online.  I really love the look and so many of the colors.  But I’ve been reluctant.  Partly because I’ve heard there’s a learning curve involved, and partly because it’s not easy to get.

So I’ve never tried it.

Until yesterday.  As I was looking at this piece:

It’s got such great lines, outstanding construction (it’s actually a solid oak Thomasville piece) but the yellowish, 70’s stain, with slate blue highlights,  just weren’t working for me.   Painting it was the obvious solution.

Some crazy thought flicked into my head that this piece, and this time (3 days before Market Days)  was right for trying chalk paint.

Common sense tells you to try a new technique on something small and unimportant.  Take a good look at this hutch.   It’s so tall that I need a step ladder to reach the top.  It’s about 6′ wide, and weighs more that a small elephant.  And I was planning it for the centerpiece of my Market Days display.  This piece is both huge and important.

Undaunted, I started in with my deep taupy paint.  Just the muted cocoa/grey shade I was looking for.  It was looking great, and going on so easily!  “Wow, looks like it really will cover in one coat!”  I wanted to squeeze myself.  You see a big part of the motivation to try chalk paint was that so many people had told me that this miracle is true:  chalk paint covers in one coat.  And it doesn’t chip, or need primer.

But when I climbed down off of my ladder and gazed back up at my masterpiece, I saw that the paint was drying at least 6 shade lighter than it went on!  It was almost cream colored!  Oh no.

I took a deep breath.  That’s okay.  I’d planned on the antiquing wax.  It’ll make all the difference.

Out comes the wax.  Now I’ve waxed before.  And I know that wax takes elbow grease.  So elbow grease I gave it.   Initially it was beautiful.  The happier I was with it, the more intensely I rubbed it in.  Until – oh horror! – the wax was pulling the paint off.  Throughout the piece I was looking at whole swathes that were just antiquing over the original finish.

I could have cried.

Instead I walked away.   In search of someone to whine to.  I found Fran.  Fran is a seasoned painter, and a master fixer-upper.  “Oh just dry brush some more paint in those spots.  It’ll look great.”  I wanted to believe her.  I wanted to have it all turn out.

My plan?  Abandon it.  Have a limoncello martini (an excellent solution to most summertime problems), a good nights sleep, and paint it with some Farrow & Ball in the morning.

But when I returned this morning, I decided to try Fran’s advice after all.  And look at how it came out:

I am so pleased with the finished product!  I really  love it.  And it did actually cover in one coat.

Turns out my problem was that I should have wiped the wax on gently, not so harshly.   Upon further investigation (and whining to everyone who would listen to me AND knows something about painting with chalk paint) the Annie Sloane paint has quick drying qualities that the paint I used does not.  Additionally, the Annie Sloane wax does not rub off the paint the way the wax I used does.  On the flip side, this wax is completely organic and natural and doesn’t smell at all.  The Annie Sloane wax (though much easier to work with) does reek.  So there’s the trade off.

What do you think?  Do you like the final effect?   You’ll have to wait to see the whole thing, as it’s so heavy, that I have to have 2 men to lift the top back on.

By Saturday morning it’ll be fully decorated, and you’ll see it if you drop in on Market Days.

Another Market Days perk?  Repurposed & Refined, one of the temporary dealers, is offering chalk paint demonstrations throughout the day.  I think I’ll be taking one in!

Thanks for reading,

Virginia

 

August 12, 2014:  Here’s a few places to go if you’re interested in learning more, from real experts, on chalk paint and specialty furniture painting:

CeCe Caldwell Chalk Paint (http://cececaldwells.com/instructions-for-use/)
Annie Sloane Chalk Paint (http://www.anniesloan.com/)

And now my favorite paint company in the world, Farrow & Ball, has jumped into the game with some great insights into painting furniture with their extraordinary paint:

http://us.farrow-ball.com/find-it-paint-it-love-it/content/fcp-content

Have fun!!

Read Full Post »

Actually, this should be titled, “Before & Now”, because while it’s technically ‘after’ pictures I have, they are not the magazine-ready kinda after pictures you may be hoping for.  Things happen around here in baby steps – mainly because we inevitably run into the unexpected.

So this post is really an update on the ‘cottage’ we’re working on.  And I can hardly express how happy I am to just be this far along in our process.

ROOM #1:

BEFORE

You may recall that all that wood is actually contact paper.  And those parquet floors are stick-on vinyl tiles.

ImageSo here’s what we had after removing the contact paper and vinyl tiles.  Yes, those are holes in the wall. But the hardwood floors had a great patina.Image

AFTER:

This is what we have today.  A bit of patching, a couple gallons of Farrow & Ball’s Pavilion Gray, trimmed with Benjamin Moore’s White Dove, and it’s worlds better.  Don’t you think? It makes me so happy to open the door now!ImageI just LOVE the old built-in cupboard!

ImageHere’s a detail of the colors.  So pretty and calming.Image

 

ROOM #2:

BEFORE

This room seemed to have the most potential because the lighting is so nice and the wainscoting has so much charm.  But this room had the stickiest floor tiles of all.  We tried everything, and finally ended up using a belt sander to sand the gunk off the floors. Image

 

AFTER

We had initially planned on staining the floors after sanding, but I really like the look of the raw sanding.  The patina would be totally lost when covered by stain.  What do you think?ImageRoom #2 BEFORE

(with the ‘parquet’ floor)ImageParquet floor removedImage

AFTER

And, voila!  The wainscoting did not disappoint.  Nor did the soft natural lighting of the room.  ImageDetail of the wall color in Room #2ImageIt’s the same Farrow & Ball Pavilion Gray that’s in the first room, yet look how the lighting changes it.  I just LOVE that about the F&B paints.ImageRoom #3

BEFORE

Again with the floors.  And this wall color was almost like a trip to the Caribbean.  It was super intense.ImageThe ‘parquet’ floors removed.ImageAFTER
We’re still working on this one, but the walls are finished, painted Farrow & Ball’s Blue Gray, with F&B’s Old White as the trim.  The combo is like a softer, warmer version of the colors in the other two rooms.  A really comforting transition.ImageDetail of the wall and trim colors.

Image
Room #4

BEFORE

Moving upstairs, this room is directly above Room #2 with the wainscoting, so it has that beautiful natural light.  Even though it’s the smallest room in the house, it’s one of the prettiest.

Image

AFTER

And here’s what paint can do.  Farrow & Ball’s Borrowed Light, trimmed with Benjamin Moore’s White Dove.  Upstairs we did stain the floors, using Rustoleum’s Kona stain.  Don’t you just love the deep, rich floors in contrast to the pale walls and trim?ImageBEFORE (Room #4)Image

 

AFTER (Room #4)

Another angle of this beautiful room.  You just want to stay in there it’s so pretty.

Image

ROOM #5

BEFORE

This is the room above the turquoise room.  It had the grungiest walls and trim of any room in the house.  It took 2 coats of primer to make them paintable.  And, like every room in the house, it had the vinyl tiles on the floor.Image

 

AFTER

And here it is with F&B’s Blackened on the walls and Cooking Apple Green on the ceiling, and Benjamin Moore’s White Dove trim.  We used the Rustoleum Kona stain throughout the upstairs.ImageAnother view with more of the ceiling showing.Image

So there you are.  We’re about to finish up completely with the renovating process and begin the decorating – my favorite part, of course.  I’ll keep you posted!

Thanks for reading,

Virginia

Read Full Post »

It’s a annual ritual I’ve been through for the past 18 years, with varying degrees of enthusiasm.

It always begins with the excitement of (my absolute favorite part of school) picking out the new school supplies. There is just something about those freshly sharpened pencils, brand-new pens, gloriously clean pads of paper. I’m happy just touching and gazing at it all.

And I have spread this little bit of wonder to my girls. We’re like kids in a candy shop when all the store roll out their aisles of supplies. Each girl would pick out her favorite things. We’d come home with bags brim-full. Gaze at them, love them. . . But then, what do you DO with all that stuff?

Here’s a few ideas:

I love these old card catalogs with all their cubbies. I especially love that they can be labelled so nicely. Put each family-member’s name on a column of drawers. Label the extra drawers with the supply it holds. For larger items (spirals, notebook paper, workbooks, etc.) place baskets beneath or on top. Organization of school supplies: done!

Another great card catalog.

Brass plate detail of card catalog. I just love brass tags, and find them even cooler when they’re still attached to the object they came with.

For textbooks and workbooks, consider an open hutch. This one is great because it has the ‘bar’ across to catch things before they fall.

An industrial shelf like this one (love the wheels and side bars!) works great as a compact school organizer. Give each child a shelf. Let them pick out a basket (or get a group that are identical to save on stress) to place on his or her shelf. Let each choose a heavy, flat-bottomed object to use as a book end. Fill the baskets with their small supplies. Stack the workbooks, and secure the textbooks with the bookends. Voila! you have all their school stuff in a personalized space that takes up less than 10 sq. ft.! Pretty sweet, huh?

Lockers are another great solution. They not only catch the school supplies, but they also give you plenty of room for sneakers, hats, gloves, and sports equipment. I love the cheerful color of this set, and that the doors flip up to open. Who wouldn’t have fun putting stuff away in this cool locker set?

This locker set is made up of shelving and a set of tough locker baskets. Each basket can be completely removed from the shelf, making it easy for everyone to access their baskets at once.

Next, we’re on to desks and some really clever ways to contain your desk-top supplies.
Thanks for reading,

Virginia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »