Let's talk about inspiring interiors for a moment. Specifically, other people's interiors. More specifically, interiors of people who do not live in the United States.
Interiors, like fashion and art, are a universal language, and voyeurism is a rather universal human trait (see: Marcel Proust; Rear Window; tabloids; and all forms of social media to name but a few examples of our voyeuristic tendencies). You give me photos of someone's beautiful home, you feed my voyeuristic craving to see that which is not mine. I will devour those photos with gusto, dream about what it must be like to live in such a space, and then go on a search for more interior heroine to feed my addiction.
Recently, a photo of a living room on Pinterest caught my eye (it was on Born and Bred Studio's board - Born and Bred is a great company to follow on Pinterest). As you may have noticed in my posts of late, I've been really into emerald green recently -- and as I've learned, more specifically emerald green as part of a semi-complex, preferably tetrad, color scheme), and the green velvet pillows (more specifically, the elongated pillows, especially the elongated pillows layered atop bold, almost rugby striped pillows.... contrasted with that stark white.... and that angular antique armoire....) in this image drew me in (see how this stuff gets me going?). The rest of the space seemed so different than many spaces I've seen lately, and that was both refreshing and captivating. I repined the image and planned to move on. But as I do, I thought about that living room and then began to wonder what the rest of the space looked like. Was it an apartment? A townhouse? Who lived there? Who decorated it? And why? What was the inspiration?
The caption describing the photo had been written in Spanish, so I was extra intrigued. (I love finding interiors from publications in foreign languages - it makes them feel mysterious and like I've stumbled upon something exotic and other-worldly; like my pinning is just so good that I've been rewarded with the fabulous European find.)
The space is featured in a story called "Un piso con carácter" in the magazine Nuevo Estilo. The interior, designed by interior designer Pepe Leal, with art curated by gallerists Damián Casado and Concha Santapau, is a lovely mix of lots of things. It is a home in Madrid, designed with a lot of influence from the 40s (but also the 30s and 50s... and today), which draws upon design from cultures like Morrocco and India for inspiration and mixes in local finds from artisans and artists.
I am drawn to this space for a number of reasons.
1) the "shell" (the ceilings, ceiling height, floors, molding - all of it);
2) the space-framing window treatments - they are masculine and weighty in velvet, which pairs well with the high ceilings and large windows, helping to "ground" the space;
3) the neutral base of whites, creams and tans layered with bold color and texture;
4) the use of warm colors (and a more complex color palette) in the "social" spaces and cool colors (and a less complex, calming color palette) in "private" spaces;
5) the mix of antique/traditional and contemporary pieces and shapes. It is serious and studied, but airy and lighthearted at the same time.
Let's take a look!
SOCIAL SPACE - Warmer color palette; tetrad color scheme.
PRIVATE SPACE - Cooler color palette; square tetrad color scheme.
As with most homes that have been photographed for magazines, some parts of this space appear to be a little too... staged. But there is still a rawness and authenticity to it that is also very hard to deny. Something about this space just works for me. Perhaps it's the tight color scheme's repetition (in variations, some subtle, some bold) throughout the home so that, from one room to the next, the flow is natural, effortless, but also purposeful. Maybe it's the mix of old and new, eclectic and traditional (I am particularly taken by that dining room). Maybe it's the foreignness of it all, but perhaps more likely, it's really the familiarity of it all. That sensation of "I've seen this before" when, really, you've never seen anything like it.
In any case, it's some tasty eye candy for the interior lover. Especially on a Friday after a long week. Hope it brought a bit of inspiration your way and hope you have a fabulous weekend!
You know that sensation where, once you notice something, you start to see it everywhere? That has happened to me, and now I need to share that something with you.
One of my favorite blogs, The Pink Pagoda, recently featured plates from the Bahia Collection by Alberto Pinto. I just died over the gorgeous emerald and blue colors and the beautiful brushwork (the paintings sort of have a peacock feather sense) against the clean white background. Just. To die. I looked the plates up, saw how expensive they were (they're a lot - like, a lot a lot), and so I decided just to pin the beauty on my "For the Home" board and moved on with my life. But then while having my foot zapped with electrical pulses at physical therapy earlier this week (a strangely relaxing 15 minutes), I browsed through a recent Architectural Digest issue (March 2014 I believe) and happened upon the plates again. (Architectural Digest says the plates capture the spirited beauty of the ceremonial feather headdresses of Northern Brazil.)
I think of beautiful china more as art than as something upon which to eat a meal. 1) Fine china is usually ridiculously expensive, so we are unable to purchase enough of it for more than one person to actually dine upon; and 2) in most homes (or at least mine), fine china is rarely used except on truly special occasions, which is a pity because it's gorgeous. My solution for this is to purchase small pieces of china -- bread and butter plates, even dessert plates or salad plates or rim soup bowls -- and put them out decoratively. One will do. More than one -- a flock, if you will -- is even better. They can hold small bits of jewelry on a vanity or be placed artfully on a coffee table or side table as an accent piece.
Here are some of my favorites from the Bahia Collection:
Bahia Dessert Plate, $238, at William Wayne
Bahia Bread & Butter Plate, $170, at William Wayne
Bahia Rim Soup Plate, $228, at William Wayne
And if you want to go big....
Bahia Charger, $315, at William Wayne
As the saying (sort of) goes, once is happenstance, twice is coincidence and three times is a pattern. Seeing these plates featured twice is enough for me to see a pattern -- of fabulousness!! -- and so I have settled into a quiet obsession with the collection's gorgeousness and wish that one -- just one! the really, really tiny one, really! -- could make its way into my welcoming arms and onto an end table or coffee table that's yearning for some colorful, feathery companionship. It would add a little Brazilian flare to the space, elevate the overall look, and bring a smile to my face whenever I happened to glance its way. And perhaps over time, I could collect a few and place them artfully throughout the home. As they say, birds of a feather flock together. I'd love a whole flock of these puppies, but one would be just fine. In the meantime, I'll just ogle at images online.
What must-haves are you seeing more than once out there?
I have been feeling a not-so-healthy dose of stress recently. Maybe it's all the snow. And my foot - while healing - is still, you know, une problème. I was talking to my mom about it yesterday, and she said, "Kate, do what you tell me to do: go find your happy." And she was so right.
I decided to take a quick gander at my Pinterest boards and see if anything might get me going. My "Home Inspiration" board is my most "free-wheeling" board, if you will, and contains all sorts of things that inspire me, many of which are not at all home-related, but which, in my mind, inspire the way a home might be decorated. I found a collection of pins that all fell within the same sort of color family - a hot pink meets coral meets peach meets sunset - and suddenly inspiration hit.
There is a perfect color of orangy-pink that only a truly perfect sunset can produce, and that has long been my favorite color. When I was a child, my parents decided to call the color "Kate Hufft Pink" (Hufft is my maiden name) because I'd get so darn excited about really good sunsets (still do), and now, in my adult life, Matt has, in jest, decided to call it "KHP" (Kate Hufft Pink) and mocks me mercilessly whenever we see a sunset (the running joke of our vacations now is that we always end up going to places that supposedly have incredible sunsets -- Bali, California, etc. -- and then never see a sunset because of clouds or fog). I used to hate when he joked about KHP, but I've since learned to embrace it and allow the experience to further hone what I do believe to be the most perfect color on earth.
"Is that KHP?" (said in the Zooey Deschanel "Is that rain?" voice from the 2012 Apple iPhone commercial)
"There's not enough orange."
"Yes. It's not even close. Not every sunset is KHP."
"It's too pale. The color isn't saturated enough."
"I don't know why, ask a scientist. And that purply-blue color is gross."
"Because it is."
"Don't you think it's gross? It's murky and sad without a deep orange to offset it. I want it to be vibrant and happy."
"[Sigh.] I don't know, Matt. I just do."
He asks "why" like a 5-year-old (purposefully), and I allow it to happen until I hit the end of my ability to critique the not-quite-right sunset. Often it's not the sunset that makes the color. It's the sunset juxtaposed against whatever else is going on. It's the textures, the patterns, the feeling of being outdoors in the warmth of fresh air. It's the sensation of spring and summer. Of a day ending and an evening just beginning. It's the need for darkness and shadows to be present to bring out the vibrancy of the light but saturated bright, pink-y orange. It's that bright pink-y orange. Really, it's that deep, reddish orange. But more than that, it's realizing that, when we're not able to chase down the perfect sunset (or even have a chance to see one), we can help create our own -- through imagination, inspiration, and the beauty of the world that surrounds us.
And that is what inspired me for today's post. It's not just sunsets that can create the color. It's flowers and fashion and textiles and... everything else. No single image is quite right, but together they start to paint the picture of my favorite color. A color that's ephemeral, that must be chased, that doesn't truly exist on its own, but that nonetheless surrounds us and reminds us of the passage of time (in a good way, in a carpe diem kind of way). It's the color that reminds me of childhood and vacations and chasing dreams. The color that combats the winter blues and inspires me (and hopefully you!) to keep looking for all that is beautiful in the world. The color that makes me truly happy.
Below are some representations of my favorite color. What's your favorite color? And why?
(Thanks, Mom, for helping me find my happy.)
Happy inspiring! Happy color hunting!
Happy Valentine's Day! Happy Friday! And Happy Long Weekend!
So much to celebrate today. Love, Fridays, weekends... three of my favorite things. And my favorite things make me pretty darn happy, so I am in good spirits.
But let's be honest: this time of year blows the big one. It's freezing outside, the heater's blazing inside, and our skin and emotional well-being suffer. Valentine's Day carries with this this massive burden of expectation -- will I have a Valentine? Won't I? If I have one, will he/she actually do something for me? Will he/she do enough? What should I do for him/her? What if I don't do enough? It's all just too much.
And to top it off, my skin is so dry I can think of nothing else! I'm serious. Skin. On the mind. All the time. And not in a sexy way.
I have naturally dry skin, and in the winter, it is uncomfortably so. By this time every year, all I can think about is simultaneously lying on a warm, sunny Caribbean beach and bathing in a deep vat of heavy moisturizer (that's disgusting, I know, but I'm serious, my skin is that unhappy, and I haven't truly seen the sun since, like, September, so this really is my fantasy right now). My skin is dry, itchy, flakey, whiter-than-a-ghost... It's just all around unpleasantness for everyone involved. It's a vicious cycle. My skin bothers me. I complain incessantly to Matt. Matt's skin bothers him. He complains incessantly to me. And so on. It's a fun, sexy time for us here in the Kelly household:
So given all of that, why am I so happy on this glorious Valentine's Day that is also a Friday that is also the Friday before a long weekend? Because soon -- not now, but in, like, the next 3-5 business days depending on weather patterns -- my over-parched skin is going to get hydrated in disgustingly luxurious style, and I just can't contain my excitement. Matt and I are not doing Valentine's Day gifts for each other this year, but he ordered this Jo Malone's Lime Basil & Mandarin Body Crème, $75, from Nordstrom.com yesterday as a sign of love and affection. I got stressed, because I have not ordered him a gift, and this crème certainly seems like a gift, so the balance of love and power is all off suddenly, but he claims it is not a gift because I would have ordered it for myself anyway (true), so really it's a wash. I also think he ordered it so he could secretly use it on his own lizard-y skin (much like I enjoy buying things for him that really I want for myself). This non-gift is due to arrive early next week, and I am very much looking forward to ripping open the box and luxuriating in the heavenliness that is this body crème. My skin desperately needs a little lovin'.
Which brings me to this: Love is a many-splendored thing, and it's important to say "I love you" daily to others and to ourselves -- and that means our skin. And often, we forget to do just that.
As you may have guessed by now, nothing says "I love you" quite like this Jo Malone moisturizer (many might argue with me that there are other ways to say it, but I stand by my word). I have tried many a moisturizer in my life, and none has ever actually uttered or compelled my skin to utter the words "I love you," but Jo Malone has come close. Actually, I take that back. Jo Malone has.
Allow me to explain: You twist off the cap of this large glass tub and are immediately hit with the most heavenly scent ever. Music starts to play, slowly and quietly at first, and you're confused because you certainly did not turn on any music and it was definitely not Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons. "You're just too good to be true..." you hear. You shake your head, but decide to move on. You dip your finger in the pot of heaven -- careful not to take too much, because that sh*t ain't cheap and you want that pot of gold to last for as long as humanly possible. "You'd be like heaven to touch..." the music continues. You shake your head again. This music is weird, but it's true, this luxurious crème actually feels like heaven. You slather it on your dry, thirsty skin, and suddenly the song fast forwards two minutes and fireworks are going off around you and your skin is shouting "I LOVE YOU, BABY...!" from the rooftops as you pat yourself on the back for being such a great inhabitant of your previously love-starved body. You're still a little confused about how a body crème managed to serenade your skin (or did your skin serenade it? it's all very unclear), but you're thrilled because you feel human again and suddenly the fact that it's February and you haven't experienced climate-produced heat or daylight in half a year doesn't seem to matter quite so much.
You've said "I love you" to your skin. And your skin has said "....ditto."
Before this year, I never would have spent $75 on body cream for myself, but my dear friend Emily (yes, the one who gave me that lovely candle I blogged about earlier this week) gave it to me last year along with the Jo Malone candle that I blogged about in December (she is a really good gift giver!), and I have since become addicted. Nothing else will do. I ran out of it a few weeks ago, and have been just distraught ever since. So distraught that even Matt has attempted to justify the crème's practicality. Why, it's so practical that I actually need it. And as he has generously pointed out, the last pot lasted for over a year, so really, on a per-use basis, it's not that expensive it all. Excellent point indeed, my husband. And so, when the box arrives next week, I shall say to him -- and to the crème -- "ditto."
You're worth the splurge. Go for it. Your skin will thank you. And your state of mind will improve drastically. Sometimes you can buy happiness. And love.
Happy Valentine's Day! Happy lovin'!
My dear friend Emily came over to visit the week after my surgery in December and gave me the loveliest holiday candle I've ever smelled. The scent is a seductive blend of pomegranate, mandarin orange, pine, cloves and cinnamon -- with just a hint of vanilla and amber (I truly despise vanilla-scented candles, and this one in no way smells like vanilla -- it just smells like wintery heaven). I loved the scent so much that in my Percocet-y state, I asked Emily to light the candle immediately so we could enjoy it as we ate the delicious dinner she had brought over and half-watched reruns of Dawson's Creek (noting just how absurd and implausible that affair between Pacey and the new teacher really was -- I mean, really!). The candle really added a warm, wintery spice to the ambiance, and since then I've burned it often to bring a little holiday cheer to the apartment (so often that, as I write this, it's burning down to the last bit of wick and wax and its 60-hour life is sadly coming to an end - though the glass can be repurposed for brushes and such on a vanity or pens on a desk!).
Obviously we are well past the December-themed holidays, but Valentine's Day and Presidents' Day are coming up (both holidays in my book), and it is still f*cking cold and snowy outside (excuse my French). And if we can't fight the freeze (or flee to the Caribbean), we might as well embrace it. This candle makes the weather tolerable and turns a dreary day into a warm, spicy burst of happiness.
Where to Buy
Nest Holiday Candle, $34 from Nordstrom.com (free shipping!)
Ladies and gents, happiest of hump days! I hope you're surviving this yet another snowstorm with warmth and good cheer. I am certainly feeling cheery. Why? BECAUSE MY CISCO BROTHERS CHAIRS HAVE ARRIVED!
Yesterday, my impulse purchase Cisco Brothers Cordova chairs ARRIVED in plastic wrapped style, and it was magical! In fact, I am sitting in one as we speak (and it is seriously comfortable). Let me tell you all the exciting details, which also contain tips for your own furniture procurement. Ready?
The move was super easy -- much easier than expected -- and the movers were fabulous (as was my amazing super). I would totally recommend the movers to anyone doing small, local one-off moves (and I'm sure they could do big moves too). I found them on Yelp (I googled "man with van" and then selected the "man with van" with the best ratings and reviews). The winners were NYcityVan Man With A Van & Moving. They had a 4.5 star rating out of 211 raters, which seemed like a good bet to me. I called them, and I also contacted another moving company called Intense Movers who almost exactly the same ratings (seriously: 212 raters and 4.5 star rating) and were also really nice (had NYcityVan not been available, I would have used Intense Movers and probably been very happy). I ended up with NYcityVan because they were the first to respond to me (early bird gets the worm!), were super responsive throughout the appointment set up (Renee, the beyond friendly email corresponder, and I are basically BFF now) and also had the most reasonable rate (a flat $100). I was extremely worried that the chairs would not fit into the elevator or into my doorway, but the movers deftly choreographed the chairs around difficult corners (without hurting anything) and had them in the apartment in no time. The movers, Kellan and Gavin, were in and out of my apartment building in less than 15 minutes. It was brilliant. They charged a flat $100 for the move -- Morningside Heights to UES -- which I thought was completely reasonable, and I was so excited that the chairs had not only arrived but gotten INTO my apartment, that I totally over-tipped, but better to make someone's day, right? In my mind, I was going to give 20%, or $20, but then with the two guys standing there, I realized they each should probably get $20, and then I thought why not give them $25 each... so suddenly, I'd tipped 50% and couldn't backtrack. Whoops. Excitement can do that to you, I guess. But even at $150 for the full move, plus the $150 for each chair, I came out spending $450 for $5,000 worth of upholstery (not including taxes and shipping) and feel pretty darn good about the investment.
The chairs are big and super comfortable, and they're a slight off-white, almost beige color and slipcovered, which is a good thing when it comes to delaying the visibility of the inevitable stain. My hubby was in Boston last night for work, so I heated up some leftover chili that he'd made for the Super Bowl (Ina Garten's chicken chili - it is DELICIOUS), and naturally (because I am an adult and can make my own poor choices, and because I was alone and there was no one around to scold me) I wanted to eat my messy meal in the new pristine chair whilst enjoying an episode of Seinfeld. Hilariously (I'm sure to no one but me), it was the Seinfeld ("The Reverse Peephole") where the gang go in on a massage chair for Joe Mayo that George got "a deal" on and the chair accidentally gets delivered to George's apartment, and it's so comfortable that he doesn't want to give it up (I thought it was a fitting topic given my chair delivery and my compulsion to eat in the chair even though I knew it was wrong). The episode also involves so many of my favorite Seinfeld story lines: Puddy and the fur coat; Puddy and the 8-ball coat; George's exploding wallet; Jerry's European carryall; Joe Mayo's ridiculous "assignments" given to people at his parties... the list goes on. (I recommend watching "The Reverse Peephole" as soon as possible and laughing out loud, as I did -- it's good for your health!). Anyway, the moral of the story is that 1) I did not spill chili on my new chairs; but 2) literally within hours of the chairs' arrival, I was so tempted to eat a bowl of goopy, spicy, tomato-based food while laughing out loud at a Seinfeld episode -- alone -- in the chair that I could have spilled chili on my new chairs. It reminds me a little of those Sprint commercials with James Earl Jones and Malcolm McDowell: "I probably won't... but I might!" I probably will spill... but I might not! And that is why I'm glad they're slightly beige and machine washable.
I've included a few photos of the chairs. 1) The photos are taken at night (I'm sorry); and 2) the new chairs highlight just how horrendous our sofa's condition is in, so I've tried to artfully exclude it from these photos, but it unfortunately is just, you know, there all of the time. Just... really.... there. One of these days, we'll get a sofa that complements our new awesome chairs, but until then, we'll just enjoy what we have!
Tips for Craigslist Shopping
I saw on Apartment Therapy yesterday a great list of tips for saving time on your Craigslist purchase (5 Questions to Ask Before You Pick Up Your Craigslist Score), which I thought was a very useful list (I am automatically turned off by a seller who doesn't list the dimensions of the item they're trying to sell or who are greedily asking for more than the item is worth). I hit Craigslist gold when I found my sellers, and all 5 questions were essentially answered for me before I even had to ask them, but you should make sure to do your homework before trekking off to an unknown person's apartment, wasting your time and risking your safety. The list doesn't mention safety, but it is key, and you should know the neighborhood you're going to -- better yet, look the building up (sounds crazy, but I'd rather be crazy than dead) -- tell someone you're going, bring someone if you can, etc. 95% of my experiences on Craigslist have been positive (and those that weren't completely positive weren't necessarily negative, just a little "off"), but it always pays to be safe. I went alone to look at the Cisco chairs, which I will admit was risky, but I had determined based on the apartment address, the quality of the item being sold, and the seller's communication with me that is was a safe environment (she scolded me when I got there -- especially because I was extra vulnerable with a crutch -- and asked if my mother would approve - it was absolutely perfect and I felt instantly at ease).
After getting over the safety hurdle, you have to get over the cost hurdle. I always prefer when sellers price their items so low that I would feel guilty negotiating. I don't like when they're high and then you need to do the negotiation dance: ok, I'll offer half, then meet you in the middle, etc. After you secure cost, one very key thing is to ensure that you have first dibs on a piece if you schlep all the way to the seller's house. My seller told me that others were interested in the chairs, but she promised that if I came and wanted them, I had first dibs. That made the semi-pricey cab ride worth it in the end. I knew without seeing the chairs that I wanted them -- and I all but told the seller this over email (she very graciously accepted all of my exclamation points and said that her daughter too says "obsessed") -- but I wanted to meet her and confirm the chairs were what I expected them to be. In addition to the chairs being just perfection, I got to meet a super lovely couple and see their beyond gorgeous home. They were sad to see the chairs go, and I told them they could come visit them on the other side of the park whenever they wanted. This prompted them to ask if I'd like to meet their dog (they must have sensed I love dogs -- especially big ones) who was just the sweetest German Shepard ever. So, because I asked those 5 key questions and also ensured my safety, I got to get two Cisco chairs, meet a lovely couple, see their gorgeous home and hug a sweet German Shepard? It was an all around win.
I've encountered sellers who are very transactional and do not want to communicate much and sellers who want to get to know their buyer because either they love the furniture they're selling and want it to go to a happy home or because they like human interaction. Both methods work; you just have to figure out what you're working with -- and work it. How to work it? Some people try to play it cool; I prefer to lean in and make it clear I want the item more than anyone else does. It usually works. And then you're happy. And then it's all worth it.
Happy Wednesday, and Happy Craigslist Hunting!
Happy Monday, everyone! Since you were probably up late watching the Super Bowl -- and, like me, New Girl! -- (and may have overserved yourself a bit with either food or bev... or both), I thought I'd try to brighten your day with a little Before & After action.
Our apartment has what I believe would be called a "dining alcove" or "breakfast nook" by real estate professionals. When we moved in, we made an executive decision not to use the space for dining purposes because you would basically be looking straight into the dated (and inevitably always messy) kitchen, and the space also isn't large enough for the number of people we would want to seat for gatherings. We like to entertain and, before our current apartment, had never lived in an apartment large enough to allow for a big table; and we also have always liked the open layout concept (especially when you have limited space) because it can feel relaxed and like less of a production when you entertain (e.g. let's start with drinks and cheese in the living area, move over to the dining area for dinner and then back to the living area to hang out post-dinner). So we were excited to turn our new living room into a living/dining room and fulfill our dream of having a big extendable farm table at one end of it (after much searching, we ended up with the Cortona table from Pottery Barn).
Because of this, though, the "alcove" became a sort of no man's land of random storage and nothingness. We would have people over for dinner, make our dining table look awesome, and then realize as we all sat down for dinner that the alcove provided a serious eye sore that detracted from the dining experience (I'm sure our guests didn't care, but I could think of nothing else!). The alcove desperately needed an upgrade, and after two years of living with the no man's land, we finally got to give it a makeover.
The Story of Awkward to Awesome
Every room needs at least one antique or vintage piece to bring it to life. And our alcove was begging to be brought to life. My parents, as a dual graduation gift for Matt and me, offered to get us a nice piece of furniture -- specifically an antique -- for our apartment, because they thought it would be a lasting ode to what we had accomplished and also would be something that we could not afford ourselves. Obviously, this excited us very much.
When I was in Kansas City last winter, my mom brought me to our friend Scott Lindsay's phenomenally amazing townhouse in midtown Kansas City. The townhouse is in a historic district of Kansas City and is truly one of the most gorgeous homes I've ever seen. Scott is a beyond talented antiques dealer and interior designer who is that type of wonderfully gracious old school charmer who refuses to let you leave an appointment without sitting down for tea (served in gorgeous china) with delicate cookies from André's, a delicious Swiss pastry shop in Kansas City. (Photo to left is of Scott and me at my wedding - isn't he adorable? Photo credit: Isaac Alongi.)
Scott sells out of one of the apartments in his townhouse, and he spent literally hours with me walking through the space, showing me each piece and allowing me to ask every question that came to mind. I love to know the story of an antique - where did it come from, how was it made, what was it used for originally, does it have any special meaning, how did you come across it, etc. etc. If you end up getting to have it in your home, its history adds so much to the story of your home and your décor... and you.
Scott's collection is seriously museum quality, and he has impeccable taste. I left our get-together wanting basically everything I saw, but there was one piece in particular that I couldn't stop thinking about. My mom had originally wanted me to see a Provençal cherry armoire from the 1780s (you know my family and our armoires), which I did really like, but I was concerned that it would be too tall for our "barely legal" 8.8' ceilings (which are even shorter in the "alcove"). Instead I zeroed in on a Florentine buffet from the late 17th century (Scott says circa 1680-1700). It was ornate, but masculine enough that I thought Matt would like it (I was right - he loves it), with a carved crest and a carved sort of Boticelli-esque lady. It is a looming piece -- a bit oversized -- but very friendly and welcoming. It has an incredible amount of storage -- and you know I like my furniture to be useful. It is just all around cool and the kind of piece that needs its own room, so when I saw it, I could picture it instantly in our awkward alcove area.
Getting the piece from KC to NYC is something I never want to discuss. Let's just say that it involved me, in my boot, standing on the sidewalk, with a massive crate, in the rain, and that I may have verbally assaulted via phone the owner of the local UPS store (Riaz from UPS Store 5899, if you're curious) to the point that I can never ship something from there without using a fake name and address. I reserve my verbal assaults for only those that are truly deserving, so you can draw your own conclusions about Riaz from UPS Store 5899 and his inability to get the contents of said crate from the sidewalk to my apartment. But once we got the buffet up to our apartment and in its new home, our buffet felt right at home and my anger with Riaz from UPS Store 5899 melted away. I just felt bad that our 325 year old addition to the family had such a rough trip to the Big Apple. But I assure you the buffet is very happy now. I honestly feel like hugging it sometimes (and maybe I actually have), I love it so much. Its name, like many oversized things I love, is Buddy. Not terribly Italian, but he's an international fellow, you see - and anyway, Buddy is a New Yorker now. Every morning, while I'm waiting for the Keurig to make my coffee, Buddy gets a little hello and a pat.
Before & After!
We moved the books from the bookcase to the window sill to the left (as you might remember having read here), and moved the bookcase to our bedroom. I also had fun "outfitting" the top of the buffet with a mix of high and low things that mean something to us and tie the piece in with the rest of the apartment. That champagne poster was just too annoying to move (we did this when I was in a boot last summer and Matt was too busy studying for the bar to "deal" with it), so we worked with the off-centered nature of the poster (and the fact that it looks like it's sitting on the buffet) and did some layered art instead.
On the inside, we've put every piece of china and serveware imaginable that we received as wedding gifts, and then some. It's huge and perfect for storage of such things, and makes the piece feel even more meaningful.
A quick overview of what we have on top of our awesome buffet (in case you're curious). A lot of the items are things I purchased a long time ago or that we received as wedding gifts, so they're not readily available. But if there's anything you love, let me know and I can help you find something similar.
1. Anthropologie "gaggle of geese" measuring cups (no longer sold online).
2. William Yeoward decanter (wedding gift).
3. Annalisa Barelli "Lullaby Dreams" print. Annalisa is one of my best and oldest friends and an INCREDIBLE artist. She gave me this print for my 30th birthday this year, and I immediately had it framed and just ADORE it with all my heart. I will be blogging much more about her soon!
4. Poster from Allposters.com, which I bought at some point during my first post-college year. If you get a poster with extra matting, it can elevate some so-so to a bigger statement.
5. A watercolor by me! Matt had it framed for me with white matting and gilded frame. Want something like this? CONTACT ME!
6. Waylande Gregory Large Chubby Bowl, $695. We got ours at Gump's in San Francisco, but I can't find the exact one online anywhere. Here is a similar one from Michael C. Fina.
7. Pottery Barn tray. This was a wedding gift, and I can't find anything like it online right now!
8. Varga Captiva Green Wine Goblet, $230 each. These are probably the fanciest thing we own (again, a blend of wedding gifts) and I'm afraid to actually use them, but they sure are pretty to look at!
9. Waterford Decanter (wedding gift!).
And that is my Before & After of our awkward alcove made awesome! What do you think? Do you have any spaces in need of upgrades or a new "Buddy"?
Happy Monday and hope you have a fabulous week!
This New Yorker cartoon always makes me laugh and seems perfectly fitting for Super Bowl Sunday, also known as the Day When Excessive Overeating Is Totally Acceptable ("Diet starts Monday!"). It's also the Day When I Actually Want To Watch Advertisements (like this unbelievably cute one).
Happy pigging out and enjoying funny ads!
I am a designer and financial professional with a background in comparative literature, business and design. I live in New York with my overworked lawyer husband and sweet, art-and-design-loving toddler son and spend much of my free time dreaming about how to enhance the aesthetics of our little world. I am endlessly inspired and always in search of something new. This is a blog about my search, my inspiration and things I just really, really like or want.
Blogs/Sites I Love
A Lovely Being
Cote de Texas
Little Green Notebook
Paper + Pearls
Sadie + Stella
SF Girl by Bay
The CHICago Life
The Pink Pagoda