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Friday, May 29, 2009

Flat Sandal Friday!

One of our favorite summer accessories is a pair of fun flat sandals! They are comfortable, stylish, and there are so many styles and color choices available so they can work with many different looks. While we wouldn't consider wearing them to the office, they are great with a skirt, with white jeans, or a fun summer dress! Here are some of our favorites!
Gleaming Metallics

Dolce & Gabbana t-strap flats
JCrew Anemone Link
JCrew Gold Dauphine
Silver Poetic License Mint Julep
Moschino Embellished Pearl Flats
Nine West Gold Flats
Tory Burch Daniela
Wet Seal Snake Gladiators
Not-so-Basic Black


Burberry Jelly T-strap flats
Kenneth Cole Nothin' but Net beaded flats
Mystique Black Studded Gladiator Sandals
Guiseppe Zanotti Rose Flats (our favorites!)
Barneys Co-op Katya Sandals
Just for Fun
Banana Republic Gina Tortoise Thong
Gucci Tortoise Sunset
Moschino Green Slingback Flats
Sam Edelman Gigi
Coral and Red
Kate Spade Freda
Ann Taylor Loft Red T-straps
Guiseppe Zanotti Red Flats
Stella McCartney Red and Pink Cherry Flats
Soothing Blues
Botkier Turquoise Metallic Penelope Slides
Cynthia Vincent Fringed Flats
DVF Diana Sandals
Dolce Vita Birdcage Flats
Celine Turquoise Sandals
Pour la Victoire Ruffled Ella
Tory Burch Miller Thongs
Pinks and Purples


K. Jacques Pinko Fluo Rose
Kate Spade Amelia
Kate Spade Beatrice
Lanvin Frayed Thong
Jimmy Choo Metallic Thongs
And the list could go on and on.... Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Shell Game

You don't need to live at the beach to appreciate the beauty of shells. Like snowflakes, no two shells are quite alike. A bowl of your favorite shells on the table is a wonderful way to capture your favorite beach and island vacations, but after seeing today's post, we think you'll agree that shells have much more potential than sitting jumbled in a bowl and gathering dust!
To start off with some of the most amazing works of art we have ever seen, we'll direct you to the work of Blott Kerr-Wilson, at http://www.blottshellhouses.com/
While much of her work is in the restoration of historic shell houses in Wales, this amazing artist also creates entire wall and ceiling coverings entirely of shells. Suffice to say, these rooms are one of a kind.  The results are breathtaking, to say the least.

The sailor valentine details on the wall of this powder room would be considered amazing on their own, but they're just a few of the components that adorn this incredible room.
                                    
Above is detail on the ceiling of a bathroom.  Breathtaking.

The above sketches and give you an idea of the detailed planning that goes into these designs.

Another amazing bathroom.

A shell cabin in Cornwall, England.
Back in reality, not all of us will have the opportunity to commission custom shell rooms. Even so, there are plenty of amazing shell home accents and furniture that will give you the same effect. Best of all, you really don't have to be at the beach to incorporate these items into your home. Provided you limit your shells to one piece, and you carefully incorporate them into the overall scheme of the room, we think most of these items could be an amazing feature in any home!

Case in point, check out this breakfast room with a shell chandelier by Eric Piasecki (and we are obsessed with these French Bistro Chairs). The room is bright and cheerful, and most importantly, the shell chandelier is the only shell/beach component in the room, which keeps things from looking too beachy.

For a similar effect, check out these fabulous shell chandeliers. We can't make up our mind as to our favorite!
Clockwise, from top left:

Similarly, a shell mirror is another wonderful way to introduce a whimsical, yet chic touch to a room without going overboard. We love this mirror and how it perfectly complements the white marble topped vanity. Bathroom with shell mirror, Coastal Living.

Check out these shell mirrors. They certainly come in all pricepoints (and we're sure a very motivated DIYer might be able to handle this too!). We were surprised to see that even the king of khaki and twill, Pottery Barn, is getting in on the shell game too.
Clockwise, from top left:


If you're not ready to commit to a mirror or chandelier, we know you'll at least love one of these special boxes for your jewelry or keepsakes.
Clockwise, from top left:

If you're really ready to make a shell statement, then say it with furniture! However, shell furniture is probably best saved for houses at or near the beach. As much as we love shells, these items would look fish out of water in Washington or Charlotte!

Clockwise, from top left:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Weekend in the Mountains!

Sometimes a weekend away with nothing on your itinerary is just what you need. That is exactly how one MoS girl and her family spent this Memorial Day weekend in the mountains of NC. Montreat is a tiny community with a strong Scottish Presbyterian heritage just east of Asheville, a little stone utopia of sorts. It’s rather hidden and a bit out-of-the-way, but Montreat has certainly seen its share of high profile guests due to its most famous (yet inconspicuous) resident, Billy Graham.


Bagpipers performing before Sunday church services (in the rain!)
Growing up, we would spent weeks and weeks of the summer in Montreat, our days full of activities. In recent years, our time in Montreat is usually limited to a weekend here or there throughout the year, but each time we go we enjoy every minute and return to “the real world” feeling relaxed and refreshed. This weekend was no exception.
Lake Susan with the Assembly Inn in the background
This weekend, although it rained off-and-on every day, the mountain laurel was blooming, and everything was so green and lush. It was a perfect 70 degrees the whole time, so we spent a lot of time visiting out on the porch, reading good books, and eating tasty food.
Mountain laurel blooming by the driveway
And with the city of Asheville only 15 minutes away, it is just an easy drive if you need a little more entertainment. Asheville has come a long way in the past few years. It’s no longer the sleepy, hippie town it once was (well, I did consider buying some stock in Teva after a couple of hours there). But downtown Asheville was absolutely packed with people walking around shopping, site seeing, and enjoying some of Asheville’s great restaurants.


While a number of sidewalk cafes line the streets downtown, a few we would recommend are Tupelo Honey Café, Bistro 1896 , Carmel’s, and the Flying Frog Café. All are well-priced, have great food, and good service. And while downtown Asheville certainly has its share of health food co-ops, coffee shops, and stores selling hemp bags and vegan shoes, Asheville also has some clothing, jewelry, and antique shops in line with MoS tastes, particularly in the Biltmore Village area of town.

Biltmore Village, which is located just across the road from the entrance to the Biltmore House, was originally developed by George Vanderbilt to be the planned community for the workers on the massive Biltmore Estate. Today, it is home to many unique restaurants, shops, museums, and art galleries. One of our favorite shops there is Constance Boutique, which keeps Asheville's stylish girls looking cute in Tory Burch, DVF, Missoni, Theory, and many others. There is also a Monkees there, which is our all-time favorite shoe store.
(Thankfully, there is also a Thomas Kincade gallery in Biltmore Village. I picked up one of these fantastic mugs for everyone I know. )

Just kidding.
For the deal of the weekend...



We happened upon one fabulous antique shop and spotted this cream colored faux bamboo desk. I was shocked to see that it had been marked down to $70. I was even more shocked to open the drawer and see that it is a Thomasville desk. My mom talked them into selling it to us for $65, and I think it will be perfect in her den! I am toying with the idea of painting it black, or maybe it is just fine as it is. What do you think?
And of course, no trip to Asheville would be complete without some time spent at the magnificent Biltmore House.

Originally built in the late 1800’s by George Vanderbilt as his summer house, the grandiose Biltmore Estate currently remains America’s largest private home, with 250 rooms and 175,000 sq. feet. The home was designed by Richard Morris Hunt, and Frederick Law Olmstead designed the grounds, which includes over 8,000 acres. Biltmore is currently owned by the Cecil family (a Vanderbilt grandchild) and much of the home is available for public tours. Touring this home is absolutely awe-inspiring, particularly for anyone with an interest in design. The Cecils have worked to preserve the furniture, the rugs, and the fabrics of the original home, and it is truly amazing to see the attention to detail in each room of the mansion.

Mr. Vanderbilt's Library (notice the floor-to-very-high-ceiling books, many of which are original first editions)

The Dining Room. Talk about having room for company! (and check out the MASSIVE etched stone fireplace and the gorgeous parquet floors).

Mrs. Vanderbilt's Bedroom. I love the use of color here, and it was typical in that period for husbands and wives to keep separate bedrooms. The French antiques are just perfect in this feminine room.
And the interior of the house is just the beginning!


The Olmstead-designed gardens are absolutely breathtaking.

The Biltmore Winery is something we have never had time to enjoy, but it's on our list for next time!

The Biltmore's Riverbend Farm allows you to "meet" the animals that work on the Biltmore's farm. You can get ice cream made from the Biltmore cows' milk, and it is out of this world! Riverbend Farm also includes a 4-acre garden of fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are served in all the Biltmore restaurants.
If you are within driving distance, I would definitely recommend a weekend trip to Asheville. It really is an interesting city, located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are some fabulous places to stay including the Inn on Biltmore Estate and the classic Grove Park Inn. It is worth the trip!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pillow Talk

There's no easier way to freshen up your home for summer than investing in some new throw pillows. They're a great way to change the accent color or the decorating scheme of a room, and nothing suits the carefree days of summer like a whimsical pillow that makes you smile each time you look at it. While beach-inspired accents such as coral and bamboo might look out of place in most cities in December, with just a few throw pillows, you can bring the nautical look to your living room for the summer months, then swap it out again once the summer ends.
As you can see, there are quite a few stores these days (such as Pier 1) that have taken the inspiration of "investment pillows" by designers such as Madeline Weinrib and Jonathan Adler and made them more affordable. While up close they may not have the impeccable detailing and luxurious fabrics of their original counterparts, they're pretty good at conveying the same style statement. See if you can spot the original versus the inspired!


Geometric: A geometric print is a great way of staying in the traditional realm while adding a dose of whimsy. And if two of these pillows look the same to you, your eyes aren't deceiving you- one is the Jonathan Adler version for $175, and the other is from Pier 1 for $12.98! Can you tell which is which?


Clockwise, from top left:



Monogram: We can never resist a good monogram, pillows included! While we wouldn't go overboard on this type of item, one monogrammed pillow in your home can really make an elegant statement. Despite the fact that you can order seemingly anything monogrammed online (which leads us to ask- does the world really need anything else in curlz font, let alone a car decal? enough please!), it's actually rather difficult to come by spectacular monogrammed pillows online. If none of the above choices strike your fancy, we'd suggest taking a great solid colored pillow cover to your local monogram store and seeing what they can do for you.
Clockwise, from top left:


Natural History: We love pillows inspired by natural history antique prints and by our favorite sea creatures. Pillows like this are a wonderful way to bring the summer and the beach into your home during the warmer months without looking to "beachy."
Clockwise, from top left:
  • Thomas Paul Octopus Pillow $100 (The whole Thomas Paul pillow line is fabulous)
  • Koi Fish Pillow, The Well Appointed House, $58 (though the Well Appointed House isn't where we usually look for bargains, they have a fabulous range of hooked sealife pillows that are a steal for $58!)
  • Seahorse Hook Pillow, The Well Appointed House, $58
  • Thomas Paul Moby Pillow, $88
  • Thomas Paul Coral Linen Pillow, $100
  • Audobon Print Flamingo Pillow, The Well Appointed House, $150




Ethnic: Though ethnic-inspired decor can often look more kitchy than authentic, ethnic inspired pillows are a perfect way of bringing a touch of the exotic into any room. Can you tell the difference between the Madeleine Weinrib ikat pillow and the ikat pillow from Pier 1? We can't!
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Floral: Traditionalists take heart- floral has gone fresh, as opposed to the twee Laura Ashley florals of years past! We love these feminine, summery pillows.

Clockwise, from top left:


Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

We'll be back in full swing tomorrow. Enjoy your long weekend!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Color your world

Here at MoS Washington, we're getting ready to move into new digs, and one of the most exciting parts of the move has been picking out new paint colors. It's really exciting (yet daunting) to start from scratch and create a new color scheme, especially since we've been living with white walls for the last year in our rental apartment.
It's always fun to see what designers have done to integrate an exciting wall color into the decor. It truly sets the tone for the room. Maybe some of these fabulous rooms will inspire your own Memorial Day weekend painting party!

Black walls are not for every room or every house, but they look surprisingly warm here. The zebra bench ties it all together. House Beautiful.
We love this light pink color in a bedroom. Most men would probably say it's too "girlie", but it's so soothing! House Beautiful.
How jazzy is this room? We love the pink/orange/brown together. Note the painted ceiling really completes the room. Elle Decor.
We love the Mediterranean-inspired color scheme of this room. Turquoise, dark aqua, kelly green, with a splash of coral. Elle Decor.
It is our dream to one day have a coral room! The hot pink table is a bold choice, but it works. Elle Decor.
How soothing are these Tiffany-blue striped walls? We love the whole color scheme of this room. As MoS Charlotte can attest to, painting stripes on the walls takes a lot of effort, but in the end it's worth it!

I would never have thought this purpley-blue would look good on the walls, but it does! Not wild about that rug though! It sort of distracts from an otherwise-elegant room. Elle Decor. And don't forget- trendy colors may come and go, but classic white will last forever!
Have a wonderful memorial day weekend!
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