In love with a chair...

Is it okay to be in love with a chair?  Well, don't tell the husband but I am (he may already know).   This classic metal french cafe chair from Tolix makes me swoon....  Maybe because I see them all over Paris while I visit, and they remind me of long evenings sitting eating amazing food and drinking great wine with my friends.  This amazing chair is still manufactured in France in Tolix's Burgundy atelier.  It was designed in 1934 by Xavier Pauchard and is a beautiful accent today.  We can get them here in the states from a few places...  Pottery barn catalog carries them seasonally, Sundance catalog has them all the time and you can find a small variety of styles and colors at DWR and Napastyle home.  

If you are going to be in France soon, you can visit Museum Rolin in Autun, for their Exposition mobilier industriel which will display Tolix pieces June through September 2009.  

I have multiples of the A and the A56 chair in my home and love them!  They are durable, comfortable, and beautiful, three of my top criteria!

The 5-10 Minute Rule

No matter how beautifully we decorate our homes, if they're messy & disorganized, we can't appreciate or even see the beauty. However, I think of "messes" as reality, at least in my life. I have a toddler and a job, and hence, my house is almost always a mess. BUT in general, I'm okay with this mess, because it can be disposed of in 5 to 10 minutes, tops.

So, I'll never pretend that I can have a "messless" life-- for me it's just not possible-- but I can have "organized messes." I consider an "organized mess"as a mess that's allowed for a time. It's a manageable mess & the most important thing about it is that it MUST BE ABLE TO BE CLEANED UP IN 5-10 MINUTES! That's the rule. It's easy to get rid of because an organized mess has a place where it belongs: baskets, bins, drawers, cabinets, shelves, etc... a SPECIFIC HOME. (This is the key to putting it away quickly, because you're not shoving the mess anywhere, you're putting it back where it belongs.)

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite tools/ organizational pieces used to handle messes and "stuff." Below is a picture of what I consider an "organized mess." The pillows on the sofa are all messed up, toys are everywhere & there are a few magazines/ books laying around. But it would take only 5-10 minutes MAX to get this messed cleaned up. And I'm so okay with it.

In our living room, we have a shelf with baskets full of Christian's toys. (Now I know some might think it sacriligous to keep toys in fairly plain sight in the living room, but it's the way we want to live... we all want to be able to hang in the same room, so I figure for a few years while we have little ones I can give up a half-wall in the living room ;)

Anyway, toys are all over the floor half the time but when we need to get them cleaned up, it takes 5 minutes to put them all away neatly in the baskets. (The key is keeping them in not-too-full baskets because there's always room, even when throwing the toys in carelessly and the little guy can help too. )

This hutch (below) in the family room (pic is from old house) fits tons off storage for toys and also photo albums & other random things. It makes clean-up so easy and totally hides all evidence if kiddies!!

I never regret spending on organizational items like baskets & storage bins. I'm often reluctant to buy them because I would rather spend the money on something pretty, but they're worth their weight in gold.

I LOVe these huge baskets from ikea. It's where I stick all the pages I've ripped out of magazines before they go into my Style Files:

For my office, these hanging file bins are awesome & when there's a mess all over my desk I can easily & quickly (less than 5 mins!!) stow it all away with these suckers:

So, my goal is to have every room in the house obeying the "5-10 Minute Rule." (and right now I'm SO far from that!! It seems as soon as we got our old house in perfect order, we moved!! I'm NOT doing that again!! ) Here's a quick punch-list for our new house:

1) Our closet --> it's a HUGE 4-6 HOUR MESS right now!! We need to install more bars & storage and get things put away nicely. Below is how we've been living: (ahhhh I can't believe I'm showing you this!!) It's tough to feel organized when your closet looks like this:

2) Little guy's bedroom-> Since I stole the toy shelf from his room, he doesn't have anywhere for the toys in his room and unfortunately the furniture form our old house doesn't fit right in his bedroom, which is driving me crazy!!!!

3) The kitchen-> I have more shelves to go up with baskets for extra storage but I'm waiting on the wallpaper install before I can get to this:

4) The entryway-> To put it simply, it doesn't work right now. We need to add some storage & decorate it asap!! It's so drab & unfunctional right now!! (haha check out my dead hydrangeas in the little vase & the dog chow- now THAT'S styling!!! ;)

There just doesn't seem to be enough time in the day!!! but i know everntually we'll get there... (don't worry, i'll take pics! ;)

Now, what to do with all that stuff that doesn't have a place? Arrggg like the strange piece of mail you don't know where to put (you need to handle it sometime soon, but not soon enough to warrant immediate attention) or those stupid screws that keep showing up everywhere (with all of these projects going on right now!!!) or the returns you need to make at the store or your pile of giveaways?

Take stock of the all items that keep popping up and start creating places for them. They're not going to go away and isn't it annoying to have them keep popping up? If you create a place for them to go, clean up is so much quicker!! Different times & stages in your life will call for different random clutter-busters. Wintertime items vs. beach towels & sunblock or screws and tools all over the place when you're in the middle of renovating. Whatever it is, realize the type of clutter you have as quickly as possible and find a place for it. The solutions should be easy & obey the 5-10 Minute Rule. (Sometimes this means not organizing down to the last minute detail because clean-up could be really time consuming!!)

I'm on my way to follow my own advice now... So, how are the rooms in your house? Do they meet the 5-10 Minute Rule? Any rooms on your "To-do" list? would love to know!!



4 thomas

Oh how I love this house! What a fantastic use of materials!

Check out Everything LEB

Hi! Good news: THIS NEW COMPUTER WORKS YAY!!! So I'm really, truly back!!

Check out Lindsay's blog Everything LEB here to read my about my favorites in her new series, "Blogger's Favorite Everything!" I was so excited when Lindsay asked me to do this & it was a ton of fun!! Thanks Lindsay!!! Also, you'll love Linsday's etsy shop, here. The pineapple cards below are just a tiny sampling of what she does!!

I'll be back tomorrow with a post on messes!



What happens When you Try to Bake a Cake and Build Fence at the Same Time

Well, my new computer's not working & it won't let me get online so that's why I've been so MIA. We're going to return the computer & try for a new one tomorrow.

In the meantime, I wanted to share with you some pics from Better Homes & Gardens (they really are getting to be great, aren't they?!!!) The image above shows a lot of what I'm craving: pattern. And I'm usually not into it on drapes, but I have to say this is just the look I'm going for in a client's home right now (existing completely-solid furniture staying) and am considering for our bedroom. Below is the living room and I'm loving the vintage map! Again, I'm loving the energy & freshness in this space... in particular the little blue stool with the yelllow-patterned chair.

Below is another room in the same house, and how fun are the drapes?

Here's a beautiful shot, below. I love all the energy & how time-gathered the space feels.

The homeowner used vintage scarves as curtain tie-backs. What a fun idea!! (And would also be a great way to add seasonal changes in a neutral room!)

Below, I love displaying flowers like this at home. It's so easy & interesting.

Below is some vintage jewelry of the homeowner's. Displaying jewelry is another thing I love to do. (Half the time I forget to even put it on so why not have it make the room look good?!! ;)

Below is from a different house (also BHG) and I really love how the owners displayed these paint-by-numbers ship paintings. Alone, they're kitsch, but grouped together like this, they make a big (beautiful!!) impact.

And one last final image of something that's on my mind: blue!! I LOVE this group of vintage blue glassware (below) and how gorgeous it looks against the blue in the vintage map of Cape Cod. I'll be using this color in our bedroom & I can't wait to share my plans/ pics with you!!

So, wish me luck that the new computer is able to get online!!! (I am techonology-cursed so I really need it!! ;) Also, thank you guys so much for all your sweet. supportive comments about the house!!



oh, and what happens when you try to bake a cake and build a fence at the same time?? you don't hear the timer from outside & you leave the cake in too long and when you try to get it out still hot from the pan to keep it from burning more, it breaks into pieces. And then you try to "glue" it back together with icing between the cracks and it's actually pretty good, but looks like crap!!! ;) ;)


What We've Been Up to

So I'm finally back!! I've missed everyone - both blog readers & writers- like crazy!!! We've been busy, of course. It's been 2 weeks since we moved into our new house. Here's what it looked like the first night:

The first thing we attacked was the kitchen. Below is a pic of my husband and one of his best friends pretending to help take apart the cabinetry ;)

Here I am taking off the screws that keep the front of the cabinets in place:

Christian was also really great in assisting Dave with the babyproofing of the lower cabinets:
Here's where we got the first Friday night after we moved in: (Oh yes, and that's definitely a dumped over bag of dog food on top of the fridge and my dog going crazy after all the food that spilled on the floor- that's when we knew it was quitting time!!! )
The next day, my (amazing) husband put up the beadboard and then painted it white.

We used $3 cheapie brackets from Home Depot, but I love the black against the white and am really happy with them:
Dave installed 12" painted shelves all the way accross the wall. (I can't thank him enough because he did all of this in the middle of the move!!!)

When I received Cowtan & Tout's sample of Botanique Spectaculaire I was in Heaven!! I had thought it was going to be in black and white and was surprised that the colors used happened to perfectly match all of the fabrics I'd chosen for the living room. No joke. And I already have tons of that Ralph Lauren greige I love so much ("Hopsack") which PERFECTLY matched the leaves in the wallpaper.

One of my best friends, Lindsey, and my cousin, Jen, came over on Sunday to help out (thank you!!!) and Lindsey and I painted the remaining lower cabinets while Jen watched the little guy. (I really gouged the lower cabinets with the belt sander because the I only had really heavy sandpaper and was too impatient/ lazy to go to the store to get a finer grade for the belt sander. Oh well! you can't really see it now-- I hope!) Below is Lindsey digging in to the painting:

And finally, here's how the kitchen looks now:
Still lots left undone but I'm much happier with where we're at:
I have to say that I LOVE open shelving more than I could've dreamed. It really is such simple, easy living. We use almost everything up there all the time and clean up is such a breeze. I don't dread putting away the dishes nearly as much!!
Below is my Grandma Maestranzi's colander and I love it up there right above the stove:

Here's my favorite white bowl my mom gave me. It was brand new a few years ago & has seriously aged with wear & tear !!!! love it.
I found the chandelier (below) on that NY flea market trip with Eddie Ross and was undecided about it when I left. I loved it but planned to put it in my dad's house & couldn't get a hold of him. Eddie was so sweet and picked it up for me a couple of weeks later & mailed it to us when I decided I wanted it. I'm still waiting on new wax drips/ covers but my husband rewired it & got it up and working & I couldn't be happier with it!! It was in an old hotel in NY that has since been torn down:

Here's a detail of the hammered finish:

Here's the breakfast area as it is now:
I picked up the vintage saarinen-style table on Ebay and love it!! I was really picky about the shape of the pedestal because I found that some of the immitations don't have pretty lines & others do. I really loved the lines on this piece & since there's no way we could afford a real one, we went for this one.Here's our little parrot who sits on the window sill. Christian loves him:

So, I ended up changing my mind about the wallpaper when the Studio Printworks Pineapple paper arrived:And here's why I've come to this conculsion. I LOVE both and will consider using the other somewhere else in the house BUT I'm in the mood for color. Bright color. And the Cowtan & Tout paper has color already, but very subdued color and it won't be as easy to inject fresh colors into all the time with accessories. Being in this all-white house you'd think I'd be in Heaven, but I've already moved onto the stage where I want to add color. And I guess since it's so bright & warm out I'm looking for bright!! I think the black & white will be a better backdrop for bright color. So, I'm going to paint over the greige on the cabinets and I'll be going for a fun color. It will take about an hour and I figure it's a cheap & easy color fix. I'm considering a kicky green, inspired by our parrot or maybe even a turquoise or aqua ... whatever we go with, I'll be aging so it doesn't look too new. Below is a pic of my fun little magnetic spice rack that I made from a cookie sheet: (yet to be hung!! :)

I saw the idea in Real Simple way back in college & have taken this baby with me to 3 homes since! We've also been really busy outside and a friend of mine is a landscape designer & she and her husband have been amazing!!! Below is a pic of him in the yard with my husband taking down a tree!!! He's been coming over and helping so much!!
The next order of business was the living room. At this point the white was driving me mad!!! But now that I think of it, it was more than the white, it was the overall sterillity of the place:
My mother-in-law and I made white linen drapes & my husband hung them with Christian's help:They softened the room incredibly!!! (I have no idea why this is underlined but oh well- computers are the worst and hopefully it'll go away!!) I didn't hem the vertical edges because I was impatient and wanted them hung & because I also wanted a raw look. I figured it I didn't like them I could go back later, but I love the look!!!

Here's what the living room looks like for now:

We're using all of our old furniture because the basement is a complete construction zone. (My father-in-law came to visit and worked so hard down there & I can't wait to show pics!!!) Eventually, a lot of these pieces will be going downstairs and we'll be bringing in newer things (like the reupholstered craigslist sofa!!) but for now, this is what we're working with. We went out to Lucketts this weekend to find a mantle and here's what we found:
It's raw oak from an 1800s house in Pennsylvania. Currently we have it nailed into the wall and when things calm down a bit I've got big plans for making this baby look a bit more realistic. That's my grandparents' old camel sadel in front of it for warming your hands in front if the fire ;) ;) Below is a close-up of my old man oil painting I scored at a thrift shop: (I really love him)
Below is a close-up of one of my favorite etched pitchers. It, too, has old men engraved all over it!! hahaha I think I may have a new living room theme?!! ;) ;)

My favorite thing about the house is all the light & windows. I still haven't hung much & have plans for the main wall...
Here's an area of the dining room where I just sort of stuck a bunch of things on a whim because I was mad for some color. I used my desk and a huge oil painting and some botanical prints:

I just stuck a bunch of accessories all over & didn't put much thought into any of them as most of our things are still in boxes but I was actually really happy with how my collection of things has finally seemed to just work together:

I found these pillows for $5 at a thrift shop a few years ago. Putting them on the sofa really made me happy because like I said before, I was CRAVING some color & energy:

Below is my pretty door knocker lady. She's been moving around since we got here on various surfaces:

So, that's it for now. And this is me for now:

so glad to be back!!!
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