Friday, July 25, 2014

Green Kitchen Cabinets

I know you're thinking about this, maybe scratching your chin, wondering where in the world this came from ... and I'll tell you - it's something I've been working on for a while, so yes, it does sorta come out of left field, but I felt now was a good as time as any to break the seal on this baby and start talking about kitchens again.

Plus, not for nothin', I'm kinda shifty like that.
Ooo ... a puppy, no look over there something shiny!
Squirrel!
 
But I digress.
 

We've been "working" on our kitchen for a long time. Too long. It's stalled and stalled, for one reason or another, and I'm at the point now where I'm either going to finish it - or burn the place down. And since they don't let you blog from jail (do they?) I guess the latter isn't gonna work!

Ok, so here we go. Kitchen cabinets. Green. Yes? Oh just you wait!

Design by Martha Mulholland
 
When I saw this kitchen, I knew, instantly that it was the kitchen for CDLV. It felt all at once comfortable and appropriate, beautiful and utilitarian, gracious and industrial. A prissy kitchen, you know the kind, just wasn't going to work in the bastardized craftsman meets dutch colonial house that we loving call Casa de la Vanderdogan. It needed to be earthy, it needed to look old but function as new. It needed to "flow" with the rest of the house, but not feel decorated as much as designed. When we move, the people who luckily get to call CDLV whatever they're gonna name it, should walk into that kitchen and feel "at home". For me, this kitchen does that ... and then some!
 
The color is Benjamin Moore Amherst Gray, part of their Historic Color Collection. Now, I know you're thinking Artie said this was green, and it looks green, but it's called Amherst Gray? So, I did what I know you're about to do!
 
Benjamin Moore Amherst Gray


Alright, so it's clearly a gray green. A bit sagey, a bit olivey, a lot greigy ... a gray by any other name (GREEN!). I hopped down to Benjies and picked up a sample, took it home and tested it out. It was nice. But not quite the green I had in mind. So, I took it with me to Home Depot, initially to have them play with the tint. That's when I found this:

Witch Hazel by Behr
 
This was just a tad bit lighter, and a tinge more green. Exactly what I thought I was looking for. So I took it home and tested it out. NEAR PERFECTION! I find that the coloring of the cabinetry in the photo, which is what I was drawn to immediately, is much closer in ACTUAL color to Witch Hazel. Of course, I did what anyone would do, and googled Witch Hazel to see if anyone may have been crazy enough to use this on kitchen cabinets ... and guess what!
 
Design by Lauren Leiss
 
Blogger, Designer, Fabric-tress Lauren Leiss used it in her old kitchen prior to their new move. Again coloring changes from photo to photo - the joys of photoshop, right? In this photo, the same kitchen - different little artist, shows what I think is a much "truer" photo of the color:
 
 


Are you seeing the difference? Everything about that image up top looks yellow, doesn't it? The beadboard, the green of the cabinets, the ironstone ... this I think is closer to the real deal.  So, I got to thinking about the colors. Here I have BM Amherst Gray and Behr Witch Hazel. Both are great, but neither is perfect. What if I mixed them together!?

VOILA!
Problem Solved!
I'm calling it CDLV Green. You can name paint when you have it custom color matched. Did you know that? Oh yeah! Name away! And the good thing is - you can go to your local Home Depot and ask them for CDLV Green (I know you want to) and they'll pull it up out of the throws of their fancy schmancy computer system - and you can have your own CDLV Green Kitchen Cabinets!
 
So, now I've got the color - it's just a matter of doing the work! Which not only includes painting, (why would it!?!?) I have to take the doors off the hinges, add some molding detail, patch holes from the old hardware, sand, paint, sand, paint, seal, add new hardware (already picked that out too!) and then plop those babies back into place, hoping that I did it all the way I was supposed to, and it all fits as it once did. Yeah, easy peezy!
 
So that's what I'm doing this weekend. What are your plans?

 

 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Framed Chinoiserie Panels


Before the perfect house popped up on the radar and ruined my train of thought, I was talking about changes I was making to the décor in our master bedroom. Remember? I think we left off with the idea of using this beautiful York wallpaper mural as a sort of Gracie imposter, framed in panels on either side of the canopy.

I don't know about you - but when I come up with these ideas, I typically look for inspiration photos. So, that's what I did. Not surprisingly, there were dozens upon dozens of examples, likely because wallpapering a room in hand painted chinoiserie wallpaper will cost you a small fortune. Panels are a much less costly, but equally beautiful solution if you have the desire without the dollars.

Design by John Loecke, Inc.
 
What I loved about this room, beyond the sheer controlled chaos of that gallery wall, was how the small scene from that vintage wallpaper stands out, even against all of the other patterns in the room. 
 
Design by Betsy Burnham
 
Betsy Burnham probably spent the equivalent of enough paper to do this entire hallway on the framing for these two panels, but you can see how much impact they have in this space. I often wonder how people navigate their urge for art when they've spent so much on paper. Do you bite the bullet and hang atop the paper? Do you give in and let the paper do all the talking? With framed panels you don't have to worry about that. They become your art, instead of the backdrop.



Design by Bonesteel Trout Hall 
 
A similar situation to how I'll end up showing my framed panels. I love how simply they're framed. 
Design by Suzanne Rheinstein

And again, you can't show framed panels without showing Suzanne Rheinstein's living room. Here again, simply framed, they're perfect. I have wondered what this room would look like if papered entirely in the deGournay paper, and I honestly don't think it'd have the same appeal.

Design by Martha Mulholland
 
This antique grisaille panel is framed beautifully here, floating against a white backdrop behind the glass and antique gilded frame. Again, framing is not only a cost effective option - but one that will allow you to use that small fragment or limited quantity paper.  
Design by Martha Mulholland

Typically, the paper is sold in panels 18 - 22" wide. While you could apply the panels to a board to widen the vignette, it'd be as simple to do what Martha Mulholland did in this bedroom, framing each panel and hanging side by side.

Design by Kelee Katillac

Design by Maison Luxe
 
This deGournay wallpaper is beautiful, and very expensive. I've seen it done on entire walls, and it's quite lovely. But here, in a pale dining room, simply framed, flanking glass french doors - I think it shows best. 
 
 

Design by Tracery Interiors

More grisaille paper. I like too how framing paper, even if it's not an expensive hand painted paper like this one, gives you an opportunity to have art the precise size you're looking for. You can not only choose your overall height, but the width as well.


Design by Miles Redd

In this show house, Miles Redd used several framed Gracie panels, throughout the room, and had no problem hanging art, mirrors, and sconces over it. One of my favorite scenes from this room is this one:

Design by Miles Redd

The abstract art against the wallpaper just seems to work, doesn't it? Mark D. Sikes didn't hang atop his new bedroom paper from Gracie, but rather leaned a piece of abstract art against it:

Design by Mark D. Sikes 

There's something about that pairing ... almost like Chinoiserie and Suzani, like we talked about before, that just seems to work.


Design by Mary McDonald

Mary used framed panels on either side of the bed in this bedroom, a staging effort for the multi-million dollar renovation her one-time boyfriend, John Bersci oversaw. Perhaps that is why she chose not to paper the entire room? It occurred to me that this would be a great opportunity for those of you who may not be in your own home, or even your "forever" home. If you're going to invest in wallpaper before you invest in your house framing might be the way to go. You can at least take it with you!

Design by Mary McDonald

If you chose not to frame it, you could always have a screen made, like this one, which Mary did for a show house. I think this is another great idea, and could easily be done with wallpaper or even fabric panels.


Design by Brooke & Steve Giannetti - Velvet & Linen
 
When Brooke, who writes Velvet & Linen, needed to cover the recess for their family room television, she chose this Gracie paper and had it installed on three panels. 
 
Design by Mark D. Sikes
 
And here again, Mark framed paper from Gracie for this Legends window at Hollyhock, themed from his interpretation of the book "Orient Express". I loved this space ... but you know I'm crazy for blue and white. Speaking of perfect pairings, check out that les touches fabric from Brunschwig & Fils against the chinoiserie paper!
 
Design by Mark D. Sikes
 
The fabric isn't crazy expensive (not when you really think about how expensive some designer fabrics have become) at $145/yard retail. But, since we're talking about options ...
 

Charlotte Moss for Fabricut
 
I had to draw your attention to this fabric that Charlotte Moss designed for Fabricut. Some of the line is still carried at Calico Corners, this fabric named "Fanny" isn't available in every color on their website. The two they have (ivy and sycamore) are on sale for $21/yard. You can still find other colors online though, for less than $30/yard at fabric superstores like this one.




Friday, July 18, 2014

My Dream House is For Sale

Every so often, I get the urge to search the local MLS for houses that might whet the appetite for a move. Rarely do I find anything that I think is going to be worth trading for, certainly not in our budget, but it doesn't stop me from looking at houses that are listed at prices I don't think we could ever afford.

Today, I found THE one. You know, that house that makes you slack mouthed and all fluttery inside. A little more than 45 minutes from my office, and an hour and a half from where we currently live sits a beautiful and elaborately constructed mansion that quite literally took stock of my must haves and checked the box on EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

Can I afford it? No.
Am I going to pine away at night thinking about every single thing I'd do to make it mine?
YOU BET YOUR SWEET BOTTOM!

In fact, I decided that I was so enamored with the house, I'd do a blog post devoted to it, and the way that I would decorate it, if the money just happened to fall gracefully into my lap.


Your jaw just dropped, didn't it?
 
This was the first photo I saw of the house. From that moment, I didn't care what the outside looked like, where it was, whether the next door neighbor was a gas station - I wanted it! Hand-painted wallpaper with a sweeping staircase, check and check! Granted, the carpet would have to go, as would the furniture, but the grand and yet intimate space was beautiful just the same. Anyone with half an iota of sense knows to overlook things like carpet, and take in the true beauty of the architecture here. I promise, when I tell you the price, you're going to die! (Well, maybe not die - but those flutters may turn into palpitations, while you decide whether or not moving to Western New York is a good idea!)
 

 
The photos are from two different listings, one older, one newer. So, you'll see a game of switch up with the furniture, but all the same, it's the rooms and house I want you to see here, not the furniture or décor, which, unfortunately, just isn't anything worth mentioning.
 
This is your grand foyer. Entering into the house through a smaller wood paneled vestibule, you enter this space before being taken into the adjoining dining or living rooms. Behind the foyer is a library, and we'll get to those spaces too.
 
As I said, after picking my jaw up off the desk, and looking around to see if anyone had noticed that my lap was filled with drool, I immediately began decorating the space in my head. Of course, the wallpaper stays. With Gracie and de Gournay so popular, and yet so expensive, who would take down chinoiserie wallpaper that has stood the test of time? Up would come the carpet, and in it's place, bound and measured to fit seagrass, with antique brass carpet rods like this:
 
Design by Mary McDonald
 
While a painted floor is quite spectacular, I think I'd keep the integrity of the original floors (if in good shape) and just have everything custom bound so that it mimics this carpeted foyer:
 
Design by Jeffrey Bilhuber
 
Having the stair carpeting feed right down into the carpeting below is a great idea to keep the space feeling open and the flow seamless from foyer to upper landing. To keep from scrolling back up, keep these changes in your head, and look at this picture again:
 


 
Are you seeing it? Of course you are. While the room is clearly big enough for furniture, having seating in the space, at least this much seating and in this typical living room sort of way, is too much of a good thing. What the space really needs is a large and impressive front hall table. Something round, and larger than you might expect, to fill the room and encourage even greater flow in the space, and echo the rounded walls of the staircase. It'd also pull furniture away from the wall and moldings to help reveal the beautiful architecture that this current scheme is hiding.
 
I envisioned this room at Martha Stewarts house, Skylands, in Maine.
 
 
 
The round table, skirted with beautiful fabric, is encircled by mismatched antique stools and ottomans. Atop it, a planted urn weights the center of the table, while books scattered and stacked about fill the outer brim.
 

This, in my opinion, is the perfect way to furnish this large grand hall. It's convenient and beautiful, useful and playful, completely in keeping with what may have been intended when the architect crafted this masterful estate. I even like the idea of softening the otherwise hard lines of the interior moldings and millwork, by skirting the table. I don't know that I'd have something so lazily drooped in this house, however. Perhaps something more tailored. A bit like this:
 
Design by Alex Papachristidis
 
 
While this isn't a round table, you could employ the same pleating and ribbon and tassel detail for a round table, like this:
 
 
 
And if you couldn't find mismatched but coordinating antique ottomans and stools, you could always go for new. The look of a grand hall table with ottomans around it isn't a foreign concept. In fact, it may have been the brainchild of David Easton, who uses them in nearly every space he decorates.
 

Design by David Easton
 

Here he pairs up x-frame stools, upholstered in the same fabric with a round table centered in the room, breaking up the space into two distinct areas.
 
Design by Jeffrey Bilhuber
 
Jeffrey Bilhuber did the same thing here, skirted table with ribbon and fringe detail, x-frame folding stool covered in Bruschwig & Fils tiger velvet. If I were to think so far into this whole thing, picking colors for fabric and trims, I would say that I'd likely pick up either on the reddish orange that seems to be present in the wallpaper, or that beautiful emerald green. Against the neutrality of seagrass, either color would blend perfectly with the wallpaper, which quite frankly, along with the exquisite staircase and paneling should steal the show!
 
Alright, so moving on, right? Remember that the foyer opens up to the living room to the right:
 
 
That room along with most of the bottom floor, if not all of it, from what I can tell in photos is paneled with premium wood paneling and outfitted with a black marble fireplace surround and mantle.
 
 
Now, imagine, from this angle, the carpet is gone. The staircase has beautifully bound seagrass with antique brass stair rods cascading downward into a beautiful seagrass rug perfectly fitted to the foyer. A round table, covered to the floor in beautiful fabric, trimmed in stunning fringe and ribbon detail is surrounded by small-ish ottomans. The tabletop, quite large, is centered with a beautiful concrete urn, filled with orchids, and interior design books are stacked on the surrounding circumference, along with small trinkets of brass, glass, and blue and white porcelain. You with me? GREAT!
 
If you know my taste, and if you're reading this blog, you likely have a good idea, you can probably already guess where I went with this room in my head. I hate the natural woodwork at CDLV, and would pick up a paint brush in 2-seconds flat if Scott would ever give the go ahead. But this, this millwork should never see anything but a soft cloth. It's stunning, and no one took a better leap in decorating a very similar room, than Mary McDonald in the Beverly Hills home she shared with John Bersci.
 
 
The view into the room even made the cover shot for her book jacket! Don't worry - we're getting there. First, the rest of the space.
 


 
The room has, what looks to be, wonderful natural light, along with gorgeous double-arm sconces every 8-10 feet along the wall, flanking very symmetrically the intended floor plan. (Not what you see here.)
 
The French doors you see on either side of the fireplace lead out into a very large sun porch, which is fully enclosed. Unfortunately there are no photos of this space. So, I know you're thinking - what did Mary do?
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
Honestly, have you even thought of another way to decorate the space? I bet not after seeing these photos. Beautifully upholstered sofas and chairs of all different styles, but in the same crisp white linen only help to further accentuate the beauty of the paneling. A map of Paris, divided into 20 frames help to give light to a dark corner and that beautiful French gilded mirror anchors the middle of the room above the sofa.
 
Remember the living room of my dream house? Here it is again:
 

 
Where that curio cabinet now stands, an exact copy of the Mary McDonald arrangement could exist. Top the sconce arms with beautiful white linen shades, and bada-bing bada-boom, donezo! The rest of the room is made up of similar intimate seating arrangements, like Mary's space show above.
 
 
You can see in this photo that the sofa arrangement I referenced above is to the far left, beyond, centered in front of the screen is another, and to the right two club chairs take their rightful place in front of the fireplace on either side of a card table.  In another photo above, you can see that a similar sofa and French cameo chair arrangement mirrors the one in front of the screen. In such a large space, to have so many beautiful, intimate groupings of furniture is the best plan, and with a much similar foot print to my dream house, this room is the PERFECT room to copy to a T. Even if yellow is not your favorite color, keeping your room a base of white, and using one color, like Mary has here (choosing yellow) you'll get the same look.
 
Moving on. I said that there was a library behind the staircase, remember? Accessible from the living room, the space is also paneled and very large.
 


 
Here you get a view of both the beautiful stone fireplace (isn't it GORGEOUS!?!) and the French doors that lead out to the much larger sun porch. In this room, I've called it a library although it doesn't look to have any shelves, I would have a beautiful baby grand piano. (Rationale here, if I could afford this house, I could afford a baby grand piano!)
 
I can only imagine the amazing acoustics this room must have. Pull up that rug, replace with a beautiful woven one, and have the piano take the main stage. Wood framed, but upholstered chairs, tying in with furniture from the living room, inspired by Mary McDonald could be placed against the wall here, under each of the sconces. With the lid closed, a beautiful blue and white porcelain, chinoiserie bowl could hold a large arrangement of flowers, orchids or lilies, and ottoman, maybe even in the same fabric used to pop color into the white living room would be gently tucked beneath the curve of the piano.
 
I know you're wondering, Artie, do you even play the piano? Answer is ... no. But, in a room like this one, I'd sure as heck take the time to learn! Moving on, back through that beautiful living room and into the foyer, and toward the dining room, which is located to the left of the entry hall.
 
 
See it there, just beckoning you through the large, door less opening? Another beautiful paneled room (remember, most of the first floor, if not all of the first floor is) the dining room has lots of light and a second fireplace!
 


 
Isn't this tragic? HA! Who wouldn't just jump up and down to decorate this room? I know I'm practically pulling out the credit card now. This room very clearly deserves a long, formal dining room table. Putting a round table in this room would not only complicate the beauty of the round table in the entry hall, but keep your guests from enjoying the room as it was intended. I'd go with something like this:
 
Design by Bunny Williams
 
Granted, the room here is not paneled. There aren't very many on the internet that are, but it makes my point all the same. A long, formal table surrounded by slipcovered chairs. I think it's important in a space where the architecture is so masculine, and the hardness of the wood table and walls exist, to soften with upholstered or slipcovered chairs. I also think that while the chandelier that is there is lovely, changing it out for a crystal chandelier will go a long way in evening out the feminine and masculine play that every room should have.
 
Check fabrics wouldn't do. So I'd opt for more solid here. And since it's within view of both the living room and the foyer, I'd like wrap in those colors to give the whole first floor entertaining space a seamless flow.
 
 
I think that with such a large dining room, there is bound to space on the left of this photo and against the wall, for a very long, skirted buffet table. Nothing was ever so gorgeous as the skirted table that Mary McDonald (come to think of it - if I could afford this house, I could probably afford her to come decorate it) did:
 
 
Again, giving some softness to an otherwise angular and hard/sharp room, the skirted table is the perfect feminine energy for this room, and I think it'd be perfect in my dream house dining room. Don't you?
 
Moving upstairs, more of that gorgeous staircase and wallpaper ...
 

 
 
And here again, I'd wrap that seagrass all around the hall. Aren't you loving this GOREGOUS staircase and hallway. They just don't make houses like this anymore (this one was built in the 20's) and if they do - it'll cost you millions just to have something that LOOKS similar. This just can't be recreated.
 
Looking at this upper hall, reminded me of the upper hall at Suzanne Rheinstein's house:
 
 
Here, like I would do in my dream house upper landing, Suzanne flanks a chest with chairs, positioned under sconces, with beautiful etchings framed above. I don't know that I'd hang anything on the paper - I suppose it would depend on if the vignette would need height. Again, a look at where something like this would fit perfectly:
 
 
See it? Right there, between the two sconces that already exist. Perfectly ready for a hall vignette! There are unfortunately no photos of the bedrooms online. So we'll end the upstairs tour here, and go back downstairs for a quick view into the kitchen and butlers pantry.
 


 
Again, everything here is still paneled, but painted white. Original cabinets with their original hardware are still in tact, with glass front butlers pantry storage for those beautiful pieces of china and silver. The kitchen, still a service kitchen really, has a beautiful stainless steel counter and built in sink, I don't think I'd even touch it! Apart from the floor, which I'd likely go right over with a carrara marble mosaic, and the wallpaper, which would come down in favor of paint, there's just not a lot I'd change. To me, seeing these old kitchens in their entirety lends a certain charm to a kitchen that newer kitchens never seem to have in these old houses.
 
So are you ready to see the outside of the house? Do you think you know what it looks like? I bet you're wrong! I know I was ...
 
 
Did you picture a beautiful old tudor? I know I certainly did. With all of that millwork, it just seemed natural that the exterior of the property look like a replica of Bruce Wayne's manse. But instead, it's a charming red brick colonial with a Spanish tile room and original copper gutters and drain boxes.
 
 
Again, for the level of quality and craftsmanship shown here, and in the inside of this meticulously maintained beauty you're likely guessing a price north of $1,000,000. Right? I mean, depending on where you're reading this, you could have been thinking somewhere in the neighborhood of $5-10M.
 
The house is on the market for $249,900 in Batavia-City, New York, just 45-minutes south of Buffalo. Sadly, even at what I'm sure is a shockingly small number compared to what you might have been thinking,I still can't afford it. While I might be able to swing the mortgage, the $10K tax bill just puts the house out of my reach. However, if YOU are within reach of making this home, (my dream home) your home, and you want to make an offer, you can contact my partner, Scott Akdogan at Keller Williams Realty for more details. While not the listing agent, he'd make one heck of a buyers agent for you - and it comes with a special bonus, access to me!
 
Scott can be reached at:
Scott Akdogan
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Keller Williams Realty
716-940-9799
or
 
I'm leaving you here my darlings, as I go off to sulk in the corner about my inability to live this dream, in the hopes that one of you, might be able to - and will invite me over, if not to decorate the space, at least soak it all in!