Sunday, August 29, 2010


Time to come clean, I am a Restoration Hardware junkie who is in desperate need of a twelve step program! I can’t tell you how many items I’ve purchased since the husband reads this and I like breathing! Trust me the title of my blog is quite apropos! To make matters worse I just received their brand new fall catalog loaded with drool worthy items.

I can’t seem to help myself when it comes to RH, I want everything and it all started with these chandeliers. Mention anything Italian to me and I sit up and take notice, I love anything French or Italian. They're copies of 19th century streetlights  and are so much better in person to the point that everyone thinks they are antiques!

Once those chandeliers were hung things took on a life of their own. I had to have that trestle table pictured below the chandeliers made from 100 year old beams, why break up a good thing?

The table was to massive for my dining room so it's happily residing in my new workroom.

Then it was cabinetry that I'm still trying to fill, the thing is huge and very tall! The items are so well made and will literally last a lifetime!

Then it was chairs, curtain rods and the yummiest Belgian linen curtains. My home is loaded inside and out with over 70 RH items in every room and this new fall catalog of theirs isn’t helping me any. (Like the husband doesn’t know the extent of my RH habit since he’s the one moving everything.)

We’re thinking of doing our bedroom and I really need a new dresser and this zinc dresser from RH just might fill that bill. Ewww, look at that fabulous Venetian looking mirror!

My guest bedroom could use a little freshening, love those sea trunks and that straw picture! RH makes it so easy to design too with their design gallery here. You can buy everything right down to the paint!

Love those column floor lamps and the lion’s head side tables……have you noticed that even though RH has very diverse items they all seem to work really well together?

Lucky for me I received not one but two RH gift certificates, don’t you just love the tiffany blue color they use on the fronts? That says a lot huh?

Happy Shopping here !

Friday, August 27, 2010

Kitchen Renovation: Before and After

After 14 years of waiting for my ugly kitchen to give out our renovation of it is finally complete! The blinds are hung, decoration in place and everything is new and clean. It wasn’t without some tears, the husbands not mine, think cost, but it was a hard fought battle and I wouldn’t go back for anything. The dust left a bit to be desired along with the noise and I don’t mind saying the shock of seeing my kitchen gutted down to dirt took my breath away!

My wish list was mostly met, wish list, but with a room only 16’ x 14’, six openings with doors and windows, and a wood stove that had to stay for warmth my grandeur ideas of clean open spaces was bumped off immediately. But that’s OK I was happy to work within my limitations. 

Those aren’t the same cabinets just the same simple shaker style. We thought we would be able to keep the old cabinets since they were nice but when our contractors started taking them down they completely fell apart. Nice fronts but the rest were cheaply put together obviously to save on cost along the way.



With such a small kitchen we wanted to keep everything simple so as not to overwhelm the space such as using clear pendent lights so the eye travels through. We went with the wolf stove /sub zero refrigerator package because we liked that the refrigerator is in the same line as the cabinets, it doesn’t bump out into the room by a couple of inches like most refrigerators. This is where the husbands’ tears came into play since showrooms don’t place price tags on these appliances for a reason!

While I would have preferred an antique tiered console/table as my kitchen island I hate seeing microwave ovens and all the things that go with cooking out in the open let alone they get dusty. This island is perfect to hide all those things and gives me more working counter space. 

We went with soapstone tile since it’s durable enough for an eighty pound bouncing golden retriever. The slightest scratch is simply sanded out with a piece of fine sandpaper but so far that hasn’t been needed. Laying the floor tiles in a long straight stretch helped to make the room look more elongated to the eye. The floor couldn’t be sealed since it changes the color from shades of gray to black but it cleans up beautifully. We put radiant heat underneath that I love but the dog, not so much!



Since our kitchen has the lowest ceiling in our home of 8’ 2” we wanted to make the room seem taller. We did that by playing with perspectives and tricking the eye into thinking the ceiling was higher so we played with the different height of cabinets to make the room seem more expansive. We were able to do that because the refrigerator was so tall, the sink window sash goes right to the ceiling and the small pantry on the other end is tall. We had to keep the same configuration because of all the openings but hey it works.

I absolutely love my new bridge faucet from American Standard here since it reaches into the middle of the sink unlike the one that originally came with this kitchen and it has a sprayer!



Our kitchen really came down to the use of materials to give it a new look. Since we had enough of the black soapstone, used on the counters, we used a slab for the hearth under the wood stove. We pile wood in an antique copper bin during the winter and used to ding the old walls so we thought it would be a great idea to pull the flooring tiles up on the lower part of the wall around the wood stove giving it a European flavor. That’s a 16th century Italian wine vessel hanging over in that corner that I purchased from Michael Trapp here. I love green and tried to use touches of it throughout our kitchen.

After table and chairs

Gone are the antique table and chairs and in its place a small more solid table from restoration hardware that unfortunately they no longer sell. This table was actually sold as a hall table and is only 30” in diameter, plenty of room for two people to have dinner. The chairs from pottery barn here were kept open to let light pass through. Thankfully gone are the fabric roman shades from the windows and in their place custom made bamboo blinds from Smith and Noble here that are much easier to keep clean.



I love this dishwasher from Fisher Paykel that has two drawers! It simply makes sense for us since we’re a two people family, dog bowls don’t go in there. I don’t like dirty dishes hanging about for a week and since the drawers run independently from one another that is no longer an issue.

I’ve added a few antique pieces, a cappuccino machine and voile, new kitchen! Gone is the clutter and somebody else’s design ideas. Absolutely everything in our kitchen is new right down to the wood stove. After all these years I’ve made my kitchen my own and the ride has been so worth it!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fall is in the Air!

While I know the official start date for fall is a month away today truly seems like the first day of fall for me. It’s dark, cool and rainy out and our pumpkins are starting to turn orange…..

I planted my urns up with Mums this weekend…….

The hydrangea are starting to get their pink tinge……

A small stray leaf has turned red and fallen to earth…..

And a school bus passed by…….

What does fall say to you?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Relaxing Weekend!

I've had one of those weeks, do you know what I mean?

So I had one of these this morning, the age defying kind.....

And of course one of these.......

So now I feel like one of these but plan to rebound enough to enjoy.....

some of this.......

and some of this! Then I'm hoping to spend the rest of the weekend doing......

 this but I'm not going to hold my breath!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Flipping Out: Jeff Lewis Designs

I almost never watch TV mainly because it bores me right to sleep in under five minutes…LITERALLY! One show I discovered last year that bowls me over on Bravo on Tuesday nights is “Flipping Out” with house flipper turned back to interior designer Jeff Lewis. He’s an obsessive-compulsive neat freak/control freak who would be absolutely impossible to live with but watching him is fun.

Kitchen at Valley Oak One House, Jeff's personal home until it sold

I got a little curious about his finished designs since you almost never get to see them on his show. The houses are usually under construction and the show seems to be more about Jeff’s bizarre behavior rather than his finished work. I could never have a glass refrigerator like the one pictured I would be trying to arrange the contents all the time.

Kitchen at Valley Oak 2 House, Jeff's personal home now but for sale

I have to admit his obsessive behavior shows right down to the smallest detail. He designs are clean and open, well laid out and very contemporary, he says his designs are "California Modern" and I'll agree. I know from watching the show Jeff prefers open shelves in place of upper cabinets.

Commonwealth Kitchen by Jeff Lewis

While those open shelves look nice they show Jeff doesn’t cook. Those shelves don’t hold much and people who cook need their stuff. Plus what happens to all that stuff out in the open from cooking grease, the dust? I know I don’t want to be cleaning something when I don’t need too.

House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year 2010 by Jeff Lewis

House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year 2010, the other half of the kitchen

I love this kitchen! Tons of gourmet cook conveniences, nice clean lines with an eating area and sitting area all combined. The only thing I would change is the dining table since I prefer something lower and more intimate when having guests. Love the shot of red in the dining area, every room needs one little surprise.

House at Edgemont, LOVE the gray paint color and how warm this room looks!

Edgemont Living room by Jeff Lewis

Perhaps it's just me but what is up with everyone placing the flat screen TV above the fireplace? I thought the fireplace WAS the focal point of the room and the TV with its size takes away from it. Love this room otherwise!

While this living room is masculine looking it's stunning and so clean. While I think this guy is an absolute riot he's also a wonderful designer, shame Bravo doesn't show a little more of his finished designs. What do you think?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Antiques: Sunday Find!

Several weeks ago while wandering about the Internet looking at antiques I found an amazing pair of 19th century French cane chairs from Alhambra Antiques here but unfortunately for me they were sold. Love that lady medallion in the center.

19th Century French transition style cane chairs

You know when you find something and it’s out of your reach and you can’t quite get it out of your head? That’s how these chairs were for me. But I think I found just as good of an alternative if not better, at least for me.

French 19th century Louis XVI style cane armchair

I only needed one chair really and this is a single chair. While it has a lot of decorative detail it isn’t as “high” of style and has cleaner lines which is more my taste.

Look at the curve of the arms, the carved detail on top, the fluted spindles……

I love the chipped and missing paint. While the remaining paint says it used to be blue I prefer the look it has now, more of a gray foggy hue. Best part is the cane seat is in perfect condition with just a slight sag but that’s typical of something over 100 years old. It only needs minimal gluing to one arm and leg and voile…perfection!

The only thing it needs now is a special pillow, good thing I’m in the business huh?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Michael Trapp is on the Move!

While perusing the Internet looking for a certain antique item for my new kitchen I remembered Michael Trapp Antiques and web site Here . While browsing his pages I had a look at his profile and was very surprised to find a little box right below his picture. Michael Trapp is a garden and interior designer extraordinaire, theatrical designer, antiques dealer, and trendsetter, who is well known on the east coast, is selling his amazing home in Sharon, Connecticut.

View of the house before renovation

Perched on the edge of a cliff with spectacular views of the Berkshires foothills sat an unassuming 3000 square foot bungalow style house that Michael purchased for $365,000 in 2003 and set about creating a little magic.

View of the house after renovation with landscaping, stonewalls, steps and cobblestone walkway. Notice the color of the house and trim.

View of the dining room, notice the wall color, with a 19th century Spanish chandelier, the teak chairs are sold on his web site. The dining room and living room face out to the deck so the windows and French doors were all elongated to capture the view.

The antique French limestone table base and the fabulous 18th century flooring from Burgundy are all available on Michaels' web site.

The 900 square foot deck that runs the length of the house brings those captivating views home! This picture was obviously taken in the fall since the leaves are changing. Now do you understand why someone with so much talent bought such a house?


The living room is outfitted with eight dead birch trees, while an unusual decorating statement inside they would have been worse outside for a garden designer. Upon arriving for the front yard Michael found they were diseased and dying so he brought them inside. The living room is bigger in height then width so he needed something to make the scale more human like without blocking the light coming inside.

The other side of the living room noticed how Michael used black paint to mimic wainscoting on the lower half of the walls. He has another variety of tree hanging above the large clam shell, an orange tree. I love all the antique frames on the wall, sometimes they make more of a statement empty.

The master bath is tiled with late 19th/early 20th Century Spanish glazed concrete tile that are available on Michaels’ site in three different colors. The sinks are all carved stone.

In the bedroom, a pre-Rafaelita painting of St. Sebastian is framed on either side with finials from a Samuel McIntire house. You can see Michaels’ love of antique architectural pieces in the side tables and throughout the house.

The floors are all inlaid 18th century French Terra cotta tiles from Burgundy all outlined with bands of dark stained wood.

Michael was able to open the house up and bring the light and outside in blurring the line between the two. If you’re interested in seeing a wonderful slide show featuring this house go Here.

If you're interested in seeing Michaels' shop with attached gardens and house go Cote de Texas Joni did a wonderful spread not to be believed.

Oh, if you're interested I did buy my new kitchen a little something from Michaels' shop here.....

a 16th century Italian wine vessel

Happy Shopping!
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