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12 posts from April 2007

29 April 2007

Tiptoe-ing through the Tulips

Oh, I know I promised to focus this blog a bit more on design and business, but I thought you might like to see the glorious tulip fields in the Skagit Valley area of Washington, about sixty miles north of Seattle.

Some Dutch settlers realised early on that the area was perfect for growing tulips and set about creating acres of tulip fields. Washington State now ships tulips to the whole of the US.

The tulip festival goes on for the whole of April but we hadn't been able to make it until now due to bad weather, and our trips to England and to Portland last weekend.  Though most of the fields were already cut down, we were lucky enough to enjoy the most incredible Spring day and the remaining fields and showgardens were dazzling, as the sun shone through the petals.

   

There are more photos on my Flickr if you want to check them out.

28 April 2007

Bay City Roller

Photo from Flickr

It transpires that we're going to San Francisco next Friday (the Husband has managed to arrange yet another business trip), which will hopefully be a great opportunity to do some SHOPPING.

I've never been before, so all suggestions for great interiors shops, restaurants, sightseeing trips etc. most gratefully received, though do remember that I will sadly have a two-year old in tow most of the time.

27 April 2007

Bedroom Wallpaper

On a complete tangent, since I don't think we're going to be focusing on the bedroom for quite some time, I saw this wallpaper by Designer's Guild advertised today and fell totally and utterly in love. 

Worth a feature wall surely? 

Now I just need to find a stockist somewhere in the US.  One day soon I'm going to have to transfer my loyalties from UK designers and UK companies, because it's going to start getting really expensive.

26 April 2007

Vanessa Bruno's Paris Apartment

So, a scheme for the main room was just coming together in my mind when I finally got round to reading this month's Elle Deco and saw the most gorgeous Parisian apartment featured on the cover and inside. 

 

 

It didn't surprise me in the slightest that such a chic, sexy, elegant apartment should belong to Vanessa Bruno, one of my very most favourite designers (oh, if only I were thinner and richer) who is known for her chic, sexy, elegant clothes.

 

I love everything about this space - the eclectic mix of modern and formal furniture, the mid-century modern touches, the inspired use of pastel highlights (anyone else really liking that mix of pale lavender, celery green and dusky pink?), the way she arranges her shelves, the big glass pot of unused candles, even the red beady thingy on the wall.  And it's all in the Marais - lucky, lucky, lucky woman.

So now I'm humming and haaing again.  This too shall be added to the inspiration file and I shall see what percolates through.

25 April 2007

Sampler

Am very happy with my first Ebay purchase for the Minx's bedroom. 

I don't particularly want her to have very babyish decor - just art and pictures which are jolly and cheerful which she can treasure over the years.  She is already very fond of her 'lady' and likes to discuss the colours of the flowers and and her clothes and the 'Christmas trees'. 

I like it because it's beautifully worked in cross stitch on linen which has turned slightly brown with age, and because I rather like the sentiments expressed.  It's nice to think that all the work that someone put into this will continue to be appreciated (at least by me) and I'm glad the Minx will have something old and loved in her room aside from all the plastic tat. I might have to reframe it at some point though, as the fact that the central line isn't straight is really bugging me. (It's tough being a Virgo).

Unlike my agonies of indecision about the main living and dining room, the scheme for the Minx's bedroom is crystallizing apace in my mind and packages are arriving from various online shops at frightening speed.  I'll put a bunch of pictures up together so you can see how it's coming along when I get a moment.

In the meantime think green and pink, flowers and frog princes. 

24 April 2007

Seeing the Light

The view from the Space Needle looking out across Puget Sound

My life seems to have entered a new phase. 

The last four years have, in all honesty, been a bit of a struggle. 

Losing my job; starting my business; going through a series of miscarriages; enduring a difficult birth and nursing a worryingy underweight baby; keeping the business going through early motherhood after my original business partner left; fretting about the Husband's precarious job - then last year organising everything so we could move to Seattle; getting seriously ill and then finally moving to the other side of the world.

It's been immensely frustrating for the most part as I always seemed to be treading water and just keeping everything ticking over rather than really focusing on building the business and taking it to the next level.

But now, suddenly, I feel like we've built a good platform for the future.  I have a beautiful home which delights me; a healthy, happy and funny two year-old; a business which is finally generating a steady stream of orders; a marriage which has survived some precarious times; some wonderful friends and pretty good health (if you discount a very bruised and swollen ankle sustained when I tripped over in the rest area on our way to visit friends in Portland, Oregon this weekend) and summer is just around the corner. 

As a result I'm going to refocus this blog a bit, as I feel it's all got a bit self-indulgent.  I want to talk a lot more about running the business and taking it to the next level, and mix this in with a lot more general interior design stuff and of course, house renovation stuff. I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Is it silly to feel a bit wary about pushing the 'Publish' button?  As if by writing about how content I am, I am somehow tempting fate?

18 April 2007

My office

I was going to write something complimentary about the Seattle weather, but that was yesterday and today it's pouring with rain again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Thoughts on American Life

I hate to get political on this blog, but why oh why is no one even discussing tightening up the gun laws?  It's so damn crazy and so damn sad. 

 (And yes, I know all about the Constitution and the gun lobby).

17 April 2007

Fireplace Thoughts

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your votes and comments on the fireplace poll.  Tons of food for thought, though with 'paint it white' and 'paint it and the walls toning colours' running neck and neck, you've also confused me further.

Here's where my thinking is heading so far, which is not very far.

I'm slightly reluctant to paint it white as there are already a lot of white-painted features in the room (bookshelves and wall panelling) and I feel the fireplace needs to be differentiated somehow.  And I know that once it's painted white it will stay white.

At the moment my thinking on this room is headed in one of two ways.  To keep the basics of the room white or neutral, but then to furnish it with zingy, bright accessories as in this picture from the ever-inspirational Decor8 (though standing next to the fireplace all day wearing a tangerine minidress would surely get a bit boring after a while). In which case stripped (the fireplace, not me) as here, might be the best way to go.  However, I've never done neutral before, and am wondering if I'd get a bit bored of it, however zingy the accessories. Also I'm a bit apprehensive about horror stories I've heard about stripping back paint, am worried about lead paint with a little girl around and don't think my bricks will be as pretty as those below.

Option two in my mind is to paint the whole thing a lovely soft celadon green with white trim as here (pic again from Decor8) and keep things a bit more muted. In which case the fireplace could either go white, or a perhaps a slightly darker soft sage green.

However, in the UK most of our fireplaces are white, so it would feel odd to paint it  another colour. (Am I right in thinking that most people who voted for 'paint it a toning colour' are from the US?)  The other problem here is the stained glass in yellow and raspberry, which I'm not sure will go at all (though maybe raspberry accents will help?)

Di and co, I hear you about changing the mantle.  However the current mantle is, I think, original, and has been been beautifully crafted to work with the raised brickwork on the fireplace, so I feel I ought to be respectful of it.

Adding some texture to the inserts would be lovely.  Does anyone know what sort of thing would have been added here originally?  I was assuming tile, but there doesn't seem to be any evidence of tiles having been applied.

Elizabeth, I know next to nothing about feng shui but am very willing to give it a go if it will make me happier and more prosperous!  This room is to the bottom left of the grid, with the East facing wall running along the bottom (the wall with the fireplace and stained glass faces South).  Any advice based on that?

Can you hear my confusion? I'm going to try and get my head round this over the next week or so and start getting a mood board together, at which point we'll do another poll.  I also need to pull together the key inspiration pieces I want to use in this room. In the meantime. any further thoughts or suggestions would be very welcome.

16 April 2007

Self Portrait

Quite a cool way of dealing with that troublesome midriff area, don't you think?   

Taken at Seattle's fantastic Olympic Sculpture Park. 

12 April 2007

Over to you

Given that, unlike some, I don't have a remote interior designer, I was wondering whether you guys would like to help out with the process of designing the new house.

So welcome to the first mirrormirror 'interactive interior designer' poll. 

Though I don't promise to always act on your advice, I'm genuinely interested to hear what you think.  Please expand on your ideas if necessary in the comments box and if you want, let me know in the comments which country you're from.  It will be fascinating to see if we get international differences of opinion.

 


Create polls and vote for free. dPolls.com

NB. Option 4 is unlikely to be the right answer

 

 

Exhibit 1 is the bright red fireplace in the main sitting room, which has a large window facing east and smaller stained glass windows in yellow and faded red facing south.  The room is flooded with light in the morning and remains very light for most of the day. (By the way, we're going to be discussing/dissing the wallcolour and the stove at a later date)

So, what would you do with the fireplace it if you were me? 

07 April 2007

Life is a bowl of cherries

Look what splendour awaited us in our tiny 'backyard' when we returned from London.

 

This old cherry tree is immense, dominates the pocket handkerchief lawn and was looking astonishingly beautiful on the glorious Spring day which greeted us.

 

 

 

 

 

The previous owners also left us a very charming note bequeathing us their orchard ladder and cherry pitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please forward all your favourite cherry recipes to yours truly - I think they're going to be needed.