Monday, August 30, 2010

Dreaming of Pink and Green

Suzanne Kasler is the designer and photo from House Beautiful

I attended a friend's wedding this weekend and the color scheme was Pink and Green. It is now my current obsession.

It was a beautiful wedding at a Beach Club at the shores of Lake Erie on a lovely Summer night. There were giant fuchsia paper lanterns strung about and the maid of honor was in apple green. The children in the wedding were done up in pink and green dresses for the girls and green and white checked shirts on the boys. There was even a candy bar with all pink and green candy. It was fresh, adorable, and perfect for the setting

found on google image; no credit found

I have not been able to get the combo out of my head since Saturday night. I am pretty preppy. Always have been. So I am not afraid of the combo. I think it can actually be a pretty sophisticated combination.

When I think Pink & Green interiors I immediately think of the original interior designer, Mrs. Dorthy Draper. Which then makes me think of Carleton Varney, her protege. I then remembered that my friend Brooke had just sent me this shot of her trip to Upper Michigan which included a stop to The Grand Hotel on Mackinaw.

Photo by Brooke Haynes Gallucci

Stay with me....Isn't that carpet fabulous????? Look at the scale of those geraniums. The Grand Hotel has been famously decorated by Carleton Varney over the years. Just beautiful.

I have used this image from Palmer Weiss Interior Design before, but I just love the feeling of this room. Bright, exciting, and comfortable.

photo by Ashley Green for Lucy and company

I love the over sized scale of this painted wall and the pop of the pink artichoke lamp and pillow shams.

photo from House Beautiful

This is a wonderfully elegant and very grown up use of pink and green by Carleton Varney which was featured in House Beautiful. Mr. Varney learned his wonderful use of P&G while working under Dorothy Draper until her death. He has run her company ever since.

It takes talent to make the combination look this beautiful.

photo from

Here is a fun and modern wallcovering that gives a real zip to the space.

I have been considering an addition of a deep pink to my lime green Living Room for years. This just may have given me the push to do it.

Remember Pink and Green is not just for little girl's rooms anymore....



Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Black Beauty

My dear friends Ally and her husband, Kelly, recently bought a home in my neighborhood (You will hear and see much more on this house as I will be blogging about the upcoming transformation) and I couldn't be more excited. They are making the big move out of downtown and into the 'burbs.

On Sunday afternoon, Ally and I were chatting on the phone about some possibilities for their fireplace wall in their new Living Room. They have not had access to their house as the previous homeowner rented the home back from them for a few months and Ally is getting anxious to get started. We were discussing the idea of painting the paneling on the fireplace wall black and like every person in 2010's we were both in front of our computers. We were talking through their options while both pulling up images on websites, when I stumbled upon the picture from Cote de Texas that is above.

Now I have done painted trim before. I have even done black trim before. I have specified black furniture, black cabinets, even a room of glossy black trim. But I have never considered it as the main trim color. So, I started to really think about it as a great option and I couldn't get it out of my head.

I have always drooled over Gwyneth's (she only needs a first name) kitchen that is in the Hamptons and was featured in House & Garden. It is amazing. I love they way she didn't shy away from doing the entire area in black, even the island and windows. It is inviting,fresh, and exciting.

This is a Music Room I did several years ago in the Ohio City area of Cleveland. My client had a baby grand piano and an extra room in his home, so naturally it became the music room. I found that gorgeous B&F fabric and matched the wall color to the canary yellow background of the fabric. And then I was struggling with the trim....White just wasn't going to be right. Yellow would be too much. It took a little convincing, but I got the client on board with high gloss black woodwork which matched the piano perfectly. The room turned out dramatic and warm.

Some people have the misconception that black trim is only contemporary, but it can be anything but that. Above it feels regal and old world like.

It also can feel modern like this home does with white walls and clean line furnishings. I really like the unexpected pop of red in the light fixture and the cow hide rug below the table.

Black trim can be very masculine as in this Master Bedroom paired with black walls.

Or feminine as in this bedroom which feels light and airy.

I love, love, love how the black woodwork modernizes the feel of the home. You have very traditional features in the carpentry with the coiffured ceiling in the Dining Room and the bookcase and fireplace wall in the Living Room. By painting the walls white and the trim black, you end up with a very mod look.

And I really love how fresh this space looks with the black windows and ivory paneling.
So, could you go for it? Could you paint all of your trim black????? How about starting in one room?

images from apartment therapy, shelter pop, cote de texas, Jessica Helgeison for design sponge,,, House & Garden, and Barrie Spang

Monday, August 23, 2010

Good Time Gatherings

Friday night I enjoyed a wonderful evening at Gatherings Kitchen's Supper Club. It was a wonderful time spent with friends, old and new, preparing, cooking, and enjoying a wonderful meal.

Gatherings invites guests(paying, but still very much treated like guests in their home) into their commercial Kitchen every Friday to prepare a meal. When you arrive there are stations set up with the freshest ingredients and a recipe.

This week some of the veggies were even from Doug's(one of the owners) community garden.

Once you have settled in on what you want to prepare, you begin to dice, chop, and slice the ingredients.

It is such a fun and relaxed Kitchen. Lots of time to be social, learn some new techniques, and prepare an exciting meal which consists of two appetizers, soup, salad, entree, and dessert.

Even the "garbage tins" look amazing.

My friend and I chose to take on the salad course which involved grilling zucchini (the star ingredient of the evening), eggplant, and peppers on a HOT grill. We first marinated the sliced veggies in a mixture of olive oil and freshly chopped rosemary, thyme, parsley, and garlic with lots of salt and pepper. Yum.

The salad was served with french baguette slices that we also grilled topped with diced olives and roasted ricotta salata slices. It was such a nice combination of flavors.

Here is the main course, veal chops, getting ready for the grill and a peak at our grilled bread slices for the salad.

Here is one of the two appetizers we prepared. This was so yummy and unusual. Ruth, one of the owners, actually said this is the most complex app Supper Club has made. It is was a great combination of fingerling potatoes, guacamole, zucchini, shrimp, and a chive tie. So delicious. And beautiful too.

Here are my friends Maggie and Brooke sitting down to enjoy the fruits of our labor. I can't determine which I enjoy more about the evening. While I so enjoy the learning and cooking in the Kitchen, nothing beats the laughs, stories, and good times of sharing the meal with everyone.

The table after the long and delicious meal still looks beautiful!

Consider Gatherings Kitchen for a fun evening of cooking. The menu changes each month and it is always so interesting. Ruth and Doug do an outstanding job of making everyone feel at ease and comfortable in their Kitchen.

Supper Club is every Friday night. Reservations are a must and it is $ 55.00 per person which includes the meal. You may bring along your own spirits to enjoy while cooking and at dinner.

Go to or their Facebook page for more info.



all images belong to Barrie

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Well, It is Official

While the design world has been a flutter with gossip and I have been reading posts, tweets, and status updates for weeks speculating this, it seems it is official that Margaret Russell will be leaving her post at Elle Decor and heading to AD. I couldn't more excited.

I will probably be taken out by some interior design hit man for saying this, but Architectural Digest needs a good, swift kick in its rump. It has been swirling on the edge of demise for years and has been riding on its reputation of days gone by. I, gasp, actually let my subscription lapse last year. The magazine paled in comparison to so many other quality shelter magazines out there, Elle Decor specifically.

I recently decided to subscribe again and I was shocked when my first issue arrived at how thin it has become. AD had always been a thick, meaty magazine and this issue was a 1/4 of that "normal" size. Sad. Sign of the times I thought to myself.

But now, I look forward to Russell's creative and fresh touch on the magazine. I know it will be full of exciting and beautiful homes with exceptional design. I anticipate features on places in cities other than NY, LA, or Miami. (It may shock the staff of AD when Russell explains that good design can be found in other cities)

I can't wait to see what she does with this Architecture and Design institution.

She has major obvious challenges ahead of her. A declining ad base, a shrinking readership, and exploding budgets, but I am confident she will breath new life into this revered industry bible and make it her own.

She assumes her new position in Sept. and her first issue hits the stands in Jan. 2011. I simply can't wait.

Happy Weekend!



image from google image

Friday, August 6, 2010

Home from Hawaii

I am back from a magical vacation to Kauai. It was my first trip to our 50th state and I am in love. It was all that I imagined and more.

I experienced flowering Birds of Paradise and Ginger in its natural habitat. Ate the sweetest papaya and pineapple I have ever tasted. Swam in the Pacific Ocean for the first time (which was surprising to me, since I had traveled through the Pacific Ocean years ago for months by boat).

I hiked down to the beach where they filmed the, "I am going to wash that man right out of my hair", scene from South Pacific. Saw real lava rock for the first time. Tried poke. Took in the sunset at the St. Regis while sipping a cucumber-ginger margarita. Had a real Mai Tai. Ate the freshest Ahi tuna Mahi Mahi.

I enjoyed lazy, unplanned days with my dad and dear friends. I got to spend time with my friend's children and really got to know them all better.

The trip was initiated by a close friend's wedding. 70+ of us gathered on a magical bluff over looking the ocean high above Hanalei Bay. We witnessed the marriage of two amazing people and the most personal vows I have ever experienced. Simple, Honest, Perfect.

The happy couple is off to New Zealand for a "mini-moon". I guess when you already live half way across the world, a 4 day trip to New Zealand is logical and possible.

After a whirlwind trip to Honolulu and a LONG flight home, I am back to work. Sigh. As much as I love interior design, my clients, writing this blog, and my life in Cleveland, I think I left a bit of myself back on the beach at Hanalei Bay.

I am not sure if it was the distance from home, the time change, or the setting, but there is nothing more relaxing to me than that little nook of the world.



image taken at our rental home in Hanalei by me.