Entry Standard..

Loving this entryway and wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Veranda Show House at SoHo Mews by John Saladino

John Saladino used the art piece Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer as the inspiration for the show house for Veranda. I just love the use of color here. Amazing. I think my favorite part is the picture of the stairs.

images via Veranda

Oh What a Night & Some Exciting News!

We had such a great time last night at the Elle Decor- Bloomingdales - Apartment Therapy Big Window Challenge event!  Dave & I woke at 5 something AM, loaded the kids in the car, and headed up to New York to celebrate Eddie's big WIN at Bloomingdales!  (We dropped the kids off with our family in New Jersey before heading into the city.)  I'm still pretty bleary-eyed from that lack of sleep so I'll tell  you all about it & post pics on Monday.  We did have a beautiful dinner with Eddie & Jaithan, Mrs.Blandings, Deborah Buck, and {from Elle Decor}:  Matthew Talomie and Margaret Russell.  We met lots of amazing new people who are so incredibly passionate about what they do and I just loved being around them. 

Everyone was super-sweet and inclusive.  I was totally nervous/ freaking out about meeting Margaret Russell (Mom & Grandmother- she's the Editor-in-Chief of Elle Decor Magazine ;) and she couldn't have been nicer!!  (And yes, she's just as graceful & gorgeous in person as she is on TV & in pictures, if not more so.)  But more details on Monday.  Congratulations To Eddie & Jaithan on a HUGE win for Elle Decor!!

On another note, I'm insanely excited to tell you that Better Homes & Gardens is coming to shoot our house!! 

It's a Christmas story so it'll be in the 2010 holiday issue.  They're doing the outside, the entry, living room, dining room, kitchen and us.  (I'm a little worried about the "us" part, as I have an extra 30 lbs on me right now from the pregnancy and when I see pictures of myself right now it looks like a "me" inside of a "me."   So I'll need to either get over it or wear a sign that says "JUST HAD BABY."  Think they'll mind?? ;)   

Anyway, since we're travelling & have so much to recap on Monday, there won't be a formal Pure Organization Project for next week, but personally we're working on time management & figuring out our schedule like we talked about in Time (Or Lack Therof.)    I'll post the readers' projects I've received later in the week.  Have an awesome weekend!!!

Carrie's new Sex in the City Penthouse apartment : What would you do?

So you have this amazing clean slate... What would you do with it all? Pretend you don't have to bring anything with you that you already have- not unless you want to!

Would you go with a clean Greige look?

Would you go Parisian modern eclectic bohemian?

Kelly Hoppen's Modern Luxury?

Well traveled black and white?

Dark and Moody?

Clean artistic masculine?

Greige transitional?

So many questions... Well which would you choose and which style do you think it will have in the next movie? I am sure they must be putting it in the next movie right? It was such a major player in the last.

Greige and tolix- now it's all over!

Now what am I going to do? I have to get all new chairs in my house! They would be perfect for my office!

Thank you to Melissa for reminding me about these..

Tolix in Love... Bordeaux

I know I should have waited until closer to Valentine's day but I was too excited! I love Tolix and look now they have this perfectly yummy new color.. Bordeaux

You can see my other tolix posts here and here.

images via antiquaire

Guest Blogger Before and After: Jennifer from The Newlywed Diaries

Hi everyone, it's Jennifer from The Newlywed Diaries here to show one of my favorite spaces in my house. First off, I just want to say that I am by no means a professional designer. I'm just a young newlywed with a desire to create a beautiful home on a real budget.

We're coming up on two years in our house, and the dining room is just now feeling "done" -- it started out as blank as it could get. It is between the kitchen and the living room, so we spend a lot of time there and wanted it to be multi-use space that was pretty and functional.

My mom found this barley-twist table at auction for a steal and gave it to us has a housewarming gift. Having a table in the room was definitely a step up from the months when our old sofa was against the wall (luckily no pictures of that exist).

Also in the room is a pair of chairs that my great-grandmother bought in the 1960s. They are in a great condition as they sat for years in a living room that was seldom used and then in an out-of-the-way corner in my family's lake cabin. I rescued them from being sent to the Goodwill when the house was redone and I love their French-inspired lines and don't care that they were mass-produced. Before: The pea-green chenille upholstery left a little to be desired.

After: I had the chairs were recovered in a simple linen with blue paisley embroidery and I cannot even express how much I love them now. (Photo by Becky-Luigart Stayner).

The other big piece in the room is a simple dresser (which also came from the lake house -- I'm not one to turn down free furniture!) that we use as a sideboard. Before: It was pretty dingy and the square drawer pulls were strange.

After: I cleaned it up and added a few coats of paint (Benjamin Moore's Stratton Blue -- leftover from my mom's living room). Oh and new hardware, though to be honest, I think I'm ready to replace those already (whoops!).

Having extra storage here has been essential. Our house is without a defined entry, so the table becomes the dumping spot for mail and whatever else. Those drawers hide a multitude of sins, and Lauren, I'm waiting on you to do a drawer clean-out so I can join!

So this is how we lived for a while. Totally fine, just nothing special. The walls are painted the same color as the living room (Benjamin Moore's Grant Beige), and my handy husband even added crown molding (painted BM Bennington Gray). Oh, and there's our dog, Maddie, can't leave her out!

Things really started to come together when we found an old lantern at a local antique shop -- exactly the kind we'd been looking for! The brass had been painted with a steel blue-gray color that went perfectly with the adjoining living room.

We had it rewired and wow! It really made a difference in the room. It was definitely the biggest single expense in the room, but was around what you might pay for a new lantern that size (believe me, I've looked at them all!). For us, its an investment that will definitely be coming with us to the next house (sorry, future home owners). The mirror was a Christmas gift from my mom last year (Brayden Arch by Uttermost, if you're interested).

Here is the room today. I hate to say "finished" because I'm like Lauren -- always moving things around -- but all of the big things are in place and we're quite pleased with how it's come together. The white upholstered chairs are our first Ikea purchase. They are super-comfortable and you really can't beat the price. It was a little scary to eat on white at first (though I actually served a red sauce the first time we used them!) but the slipcovers are machine-washable and can be purchased separately if one gets ruined.

The chairs sit under my "ironstone" platters which came from HomeGoods (my favorite!). The seagrass rug is another great HomeGoods find that really helped the room come together.

The top of the blue chest gets changed with the seasons (and according to my mood) and right now it is holding some meaningful things: the ceramic candle holder was Wes' grandmother's, the books are on my favorite subjects (decorating, collecting, cooking, old houses), the pewter pitcher has some grocery-store tulips, we picked up the old books at yard sales and flea markets, and the ruffled bowl holds Werther's candies -- Wes' favorite! I bought the marble lamp on a shopping trip with Eddie Ross in Atlanta, and the shade is from Martha Stewart's collection at K-Mart, which I dearly miss!

Whew! I think that was the longest post I've ever written -- hope you're still with me! Lauren, thank you so much for including me. I hope to meet lots of new blog friends!


Oh.my. goodness.  Jennifer thank you so much for for sharing your gorgeous dining room with us. I think I can safely say that we're all crazy over that chair fabric!!  Your style is so beautiful & I love seeing how your space came together with things you already had & were able to completely renew.  Thank you for sharing!!


ps-  Don't forget to vote for Eddie's Bloomingdale's Window!  ( link at the top of the right sidebar) Dave & I are headed to NYC to celebrate (fingers crossed!) Eddie & Elle Decor's win and I'll be sure to take lots of pictures!

Vineyard Farmhouse in Napa

This is one of my all time favorite photo spreads from Veranda Magazine. Oh how I dream of moving to Napa and building a beautiful home on some land and......

Time (Or Lack Thereof)

After reading everyone's desired super powers in the comments of this post, I was struck by how many of us said we wished we could snap our fingers & have chores finished (most mentioned was laundry), have more time to get everything done, be cloned because there's too much to do, and even grow extra arms to help with all of the work around the house!    I do think that some people came up with the perfect solution of BEING MARY POPPINS.  She can do shores in a snap and fly. 

But really, is this where we've come to?  Are we SO slammed with chores & work & short for time that we will pass up magical, incredible, unreal possibilities (C'mon!  Starting fire with a glance- controlling the weather- super strength- moving objects with our minds- flying- breathing underwater- talking to people through their dreams- etc ) for help with our house work??

I loved reading everyone's "super powers" but in a way I was a little bummed by the truth of how insanely busy we all are.  I didn't pick a chore-related power as my super power, but truth-be-told, I sort of wanted to...  I mean, the laundry situation in our house is insane.  And we only have two kids.

I'm not complaining about the chores,  (Ok, maybe a little) because it is just life, but it did get me thinking of what I could to to make it a little easier.  And I'm not sure I came up with any real solutions, but I do believe that even attempting to come up with solutions at least gets you thinking & makes you more aware of how precious your time is. 

We're all pressed for time.  There's never enough of it.  We have so much to do and so many people rely on us to get things done.  Laundry is endless (yes, I hate laundry) and it seems that just when you finish vacuuming one room, another one's dirty.  Can you even count the number of times you clean crumbs off of the counter a day?  Or do dishes or dust a surface (ok, I never really dust! ;) or pick & put away something that's not yours?   (And honestly, I'm so messy myself!) 

Look how happy she is:

 I'm not her.  I hate to clean.   But I do it because if I didn't, I'd eventually become a cat lady and my house would try to eat me & my neighbors would call the authories on me because of the smell and the trash pileup.  (Ok, and I love a pretty house & all the designing/ decorating would be wasted.)  ...  So all of these chores just have to happen. But is there any way to do these things more efficiently? 

Enlisting our kind friends from the forest?? 

How do we want to spend our time?  Most of us seem to want to spend it with the people we love.  To spend time working on what we love to do...  our passions....  Reading, writing, creating, designing, being good sisters, daighters, friends, girlfriends, wives, moms, granparents...  Doing fun things, making memories...  So how can we spend more time doing the things we want to do and less time with chores & house work? 

--On a sidenote, I believe time is money & money is time.  My idea of success is not based upon money, but rather on happiness.  A happy person is a successful one to me.  (Now a happy, rich person?  Well hot damn! ;)    ---

Anyway, the first thing that comes to mind is that anyone who can afford a cleaning service & doesn't already have one, should hire one asap.   That time that you would have spent cleaning, you can now spend in better ways.  So maybe you don't have as much money in the bank at the end of the month, but you do have more time at the end of the month.  And if you spent that time wisely, you have more memories, more bonding with the people you love, and a less harried life. 

Now what about those of us who can't afford a cleaning service?  (above)  Or those of us who already have one and are still pressed to the max??  (Laundry NEVER stops!!!)  Well, there HAS to be something we can do.  Something to make it more efficient.  A system perhaps?  Can we really possibly doing it the best possible way already?  I don't really know the answer. 

There are probably things all of us can cut out a little.  TV?  Chatting on the phone for too long? And dare I say it, blogging?   (oh that hurt to type.)  We could probably move faster too.  Some of us wanted lightning speed to get chores done quickly...  so maybe we should try going as fast as we physically can?  I know some people like to set the timer for a short period of time (my Grandmother!) and get as much as they can accomplish finished before the buzzer goes off.   I also love getting my toddler involved in chores and trying to have fun so it's less painful... 

And when I get REALLY pressed for time, the first thing I do is create a schedule.  I plan out my entire day. 

When I had my first baby, I was unprepared for life with a newborn.  I knew I'd be exhausted & slammed, but I didn't know what it would really be like.  After going through a few weeks or months (it's a haze) barely sleeping, eating, hanging out, never really relaxing and completely fawning over our new sweetie pie, my husband & I realized that we needed a solution.  We needed "us" time and it seemed like there was always something- laundry, cleaning, working, etc.- that kept us from enjoying each other & doing the things we really wanted to do and feel like good parents.  (Him- work out, me- work on a new business.)  SO, we created a weekly schedule.  On the back we both wrote what we wanted to do weekly and daily.  We had a date night on there (that could be as simple as making a great dinner at home & watching a movie), We had work-outs on there, a daily walk as a family, I had a couple of hours a day of business I needed to get done, and I even wrote "shower before 3:00" on there because as that point I was having trouble putting the baby down because the poor little guy would wail his head off if I did.  Anyway, once we wrote down the things that needed to happen, we put them into time slots on the schedule.  We didn't put chores on there.  Just the good things.  We did the chores in the unscheduled time. 

We basically reversed out priorities.   (In effect, the chores were still on there, but not written down, so the good things became the bigger priority.)  We weren't perfect at sticking to it, but it was something to strive for.  And it made a huge difference.  We still had piles of laundry and were behind on chores (like we'd always been) but we were happier, more satisfied.  We realized that a walk with each other around the lake was going to do us a lot more good than cleaning the house.

And the good thing was, that I knew when I was hanging out, bonding with Christian, that I didn't have to feel any guilt over not working, because it was scheduled in for later in the day and I would get it done.  (Working from home/ running your own business is often hard to balance:  when you're working you often feel guilty about not spending enough time with your family, and when you're with your family, it's easy to think about how much work is waiting for you in the other room.)  Anyway, I know it's not rocket science, but at the time it felt like it.  Life had completely changed for us & we needed a new way to handle it.

Well, life has changed for us yet again.  Add in another baby (Justin Alexander, above) and a business that's now full-time AND BLOGGING...  and, well, let's just say the laundry room floor is waist-high in clothes.  (And I haven't even gone "back to work yet!")  So it's time to break out a new schedule. 

And my new plan is to race through the chores...  To move like lightning!!  I think music & a timer will help... I'll let you know how it goes.  Could you share your ideas?  Life is short, so let's live it. 


ps-  Don't forget to vote for Eddie's Bloomingdales window today!!  (at the top right of the sidebar)  THANK YOU!!!!

We've also got a giveaway winner!!  (see previous post)
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