Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Island Style -- The Quintessential Cottage

-- Almost an Hour's Drive From Houston -- 
Lands on These Pages Again. 
Twice This Week, In Fact.
This South Texas island was one of three major U.S. ports during the mid- to late 1880s. 
Residents arrived here from all parts of the world. As they settled, they made architecture 
a passion and a rite of passage.

I pulled on my coat today (it's a little chilly here in Colorado) and walked out and upward to our glorified outbuilding, where I hoped to find some wrapping paper. Not surprisingly, I got distracted and found myself nosing around in a few boxes. That's when I found an old issue of a magazine called Do It Yourself. It's part of a stored collection that includes projects I've worked on for Meredith Publishing.  As I flipped through the pages, I stumbled on The HOUSE. I mean look at it; it's got that whole island vibe going on -- both inside and out.
In addition to the delicate-looking fretwork and the original shutters flanking windows tall enough where visitors could walk through -- not to mention the towering palm trees and little picket fence -- this rather modest cottage is also bold.

 The front parlor.

The homeowner selected a color palette that reminded her of the Caribbean. She chose a constant black to create drama and sophistication in a setting filled with botanicals, whites, nature-inspired prints, wicker, sisal rugs and palm leaves tucked in vases -- all those comforts that remind us of an island lifestyle. 
The sofa faces the settee in the previous photo.

As a strong and striking counterpart to the black seen in upholstery selections, furniture -- and even the fireplace mantels and surrounds, she chose a pinky coral color to create a tropical mood. (This is a twist to the slightly earlier post on Black and White.)

A quick tour of the house, where you'll also see sage greens, yellows and grays:

The family room.

 The foyer.

The master bedroom.

A small breakfast area in the kitchen.

View into the kitchen.

There you have it, my idea of the quintessential island cottage, thanks to its renowned architect, Nicholas Clayton, who included inviting verandahs at the front and in the back of the house. You can learn about him and see some of his grander projects here and here. I might add that rumor has it, he built this cottage for a mistress of a client. 

Any thoughts to share? 

Photos by Alise O'Brien

Saturday, November 26, 2011

An Island Loft Celebrates Tradition in a Nontraditional Way

One Couple Saves a Galveston Island
19th Century Landmark
After Hurricane Ike Drowned the Downstairs Spaces in
7-feet of Salt Water
Living on an island isn't for the faint of heart. Sometimes hurricanes vent unrelentingly. Thankfully, there are people like Frances and Harry who respect things old. That love trumps the fury of an occasional storm. When they returned to the island after a short hiatus, in search of a second home, this building "called" to the antique dealers. They saw its potential.
This cheery green and yellow building didn't look like this when Harry
and Frances first saw it. The couple renovated it, rented out the two shop
spaces -- the ones that flooded -- on the ground floor. They live in the larger
of two lofts upstairs. They look out the front windows on the second floor
above onto an area called The Strand. 

Harry and Frances are experienced renovators. But even still, they found their work cut out for them when they bought this building. For the complete story on what they did and what tips they share with other project renovators, go here.
In determining how they wanted to live in the loft, the couple decided to carve out an entry room, as seen below in two different views. The deep lively red combined with the old brick creates a warm welcome.
Harry and Frances are confident decorators. They know what they love -- and like to live with their favorite finds and collections -- all assembled over the years. They also like color, as you will see. They applied variations to a color palette of primary colors. Here as you walk in and through the kitchen, it feels traditional. Just when you think you know what to expect, they surprise you with clean modern designs in the kitchen and bath. All so livable.

The couple worked with their daughter to establish distinctive living and work spaces in this large loft space.  Frances had purchased an old store counter that she figured would be a perfect kitchen island. It also dictated the blue color in the kitchen.

They chose to construct a couple of furniture-style built-ins in the kitchen that provide extra storage and prep space.

Here is a close up look of the contemporary backsplash -- a combination of shapes with rock insets -- they chose for the kitchen (sorry, they don't remember the name of the selection):
They equipped the area with a BlueStar range -- the commercial-residential model. Check it out:  Those ranges come in 190 different colors! As you can see, they went with a stainless steel look.
The living room. On the back brick wall, which they had to re-mortar entirely, hangs an antique flag that was a gift from another dealer and friend. The ship is a replica of the Britannic -- sister to the Titantic -- they found somewhere in the Northeast. Frances remembers holding it upright in the long car-ride home. Old WWI bond posters also hang on the expansive brick wall in various spots.

Their daughter found several stained glass panels and then stored then for a future project. When she saw the windows here, she presented her find to her parents. Serendipitously, they fit!
A guest room, cleanly appointed, mimics the cheery yellow color found on the exterior of the building.
The master bath steers away from a typically traditional look. The homeowners selected a small glass tile that makes a strong design impact since it goes from ceiling to floor.

For more information about restoring Galveston's famous history and architectural sites, visit the Galveston Historical Foundation.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Organic Modern Decor Begets a Satisfying Balance of Surprise and Comfort

A Rustic Montana Home
That Isn't Your Typical Western Retreat . . .
Worth Interiors in Colorado made sure of that 
by employing a complementary mix of materials and styles

You See, when I travel, I pack my heavy-duty Dash and Albert bag with a few magazines that I can read and browse when airline personnel instruct me to turn off my Kindle Fire (which I love!) -- until we reach an acceptable "turn-it-back-on" altitude.
Mountain Living magazine, which featured this spectacular Montana home, was among the mix of my must-reads.

 By the way, I have two of these bags (the other one is green and white). 
I've had them both for years. They're sturdy enough to carry my laptop, books and magazines and whatever else I want to have with me on the plane or at my side in the car.

This bedroom, which graces this month's cover of Mountain Living, caught my eye:

What drew me in:  The rustic-glam touches along with the unexpected modern accents -- like the light fixture above, orange footstool and white lamp. I liked the antler-designed chair on the right draped in a fluffy white skin (alpaca, sheep???). I think the platform bed and large distinctive headboard make an inviting scene, along with the soft bedding (wouldn't it be nice it that was cashmere?!). Note the dark contemporary window frames and the old wooden beams. Nice contrasts. I do feel like I want something more orange. Just one more thing,, perhaps. But that's it; I find this to be an inviting refuge from cold evenings.

I wanted to share a couple more views of this home, because I so loved the consistent yet varied elements of surprise. 

The aspen tree wall suits my liking for and want to bringing the outdoors inside. It's unconventional and welcoming. An interesting thing about the floors. They're wide-plank, white-washed oak that the builders (Highline Partners) sanded and then applied a black wash to create the soft yet weathered look as seen above. 

The high-tech media room above features a very graphic yet grounded wall of aspen tree slices. It's a pleasing visual appropriate to the environs.

The cowhide panels above with the railroad spikes provide a space in the entry where visitors can hang their hats -- or coats. The design firm likes to use interesting materials -- and in some cases faux finishes -- in small areas to create interest and warmth. Their philosophy seems to be that smaller spaces benefit from the use of special attention. The spaces, therefore, prove interesting without grabbing too much attention from the rest of the house.

The house

Lest you think this house is all about special effects, I invite you to visit the Mountain Living magazine Web site -- here -- to see more of the house and to read the interview with the designer and Montana-based architectectural firm, KMA,Inc.



Monday, November 21, 2011

Black and White Rooms -- Reasons To Love This Stunning Look

It's All Very Black and White 
for Maryland-based
Kelley's no stranger to lively color palettes (see the orange and green house she did here), but she does seem to see and understand the strengths a black and white combo can offer a space.

#1.  Black and white conveys a yin and yang balance to a room. It feels strongly masculine, yet not overly so thanks to the lighter feminine touch the soft white adds.... Black with white creates a classic, timeless style.

#2.  So striking, so boldly confident, it almost sounds too wimpy to refer to it as a neutral palette. But that it is. This black and white is a striking show stopper on its own, but it certainly can accommodate color.  If you want the option to change the look of a room up on a whim, this is the backdrop to use. Add yellow. A lilac hue. Greens. Oranges. Reds, of course. What wouldn't look great? Add a lush vase full of colorful flowers. Or how about jazzy throw pillows or a bright patterned throw?

#3. Black and white is dramatic ... a little edgy. Very sophisticated....

#4. Black and white doesn't need or require a lot of layering. The strength in the look would become diluted with too many added, smaller trinkets and accessories. This is a clean look that gains its power and appeal thanks to larger yet fewer accent pieces.

#5. For a neutral palette, it's exciting. Especially when graphic fabrics are added to the mix, such as with the throw pillows.  It can go traditional without the expected trappings. It's very clean and straightforward.

(photos above courtesy of Kelley Proxmire Interior Design.)

Today, as happenstance would have it, Ethan Allen Furniture popped into my mailbox with dramatic stripped flare -- all in celebration of Black and White in various style settings. If you'd like more inspiration, visit their catalog here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Giant Willow Sculptures by British Artisan -- AND Hand-crafted Architectural Moldings

Bespoke Designs . . .
the Foundation of All Products Constructed and Sold

Gillian Montegrande, co-founder of Made By Hands of Britain, understands the economic sensitivity of today's world. So, according to this entrepreneurial spirit and  artisan, when you decide to make a purchase, "buy once but buy well." 

Willow weave artist Rachel Carter's sculptures. She has accepted an invitation to exhibit her work at the Philadelphia Horticultural Show in 2013.

"In a world of homogenized, mass-produced, disposable items, it is reassuring to know that there are people who still want to use their hands and ingenuity to create things that other people will still go out of their way to source and own," says Gillian, who writes a blog that you can find here.

 Rachel combines her passion for art and design with a love of nature. Made of steel and willow, Rachel intertwines the materials to create added beauty for the garden and landscape.
(And, in you're interested, she ships!) 

  Willow sculptress Rachel Carter.

 Willow drop sculptures, designed to sway and spin in breezes, by Rachel who showed her pieces at the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show. 
For prices and more information, go here. 

Gillian reports that Made by Hands of Britain showcases 185-plus artists -- some of whom still employ 17th-century craft-making expertise, enhanced by modern-day improvements. Like the craftsmen at Architectural Mouldings. Samples of their work:

When you want a customized ceiling medallion, go to the professionals to get what you want and need. 

 Dentil molding conveys an architectural element suits the soft elegant style of this home.

 Crown molding at its best.

Geoffrey Preston is one of the UK's leading architectural sculptors. Some examples of his work. Note the detailing, design and obvious inspiration:

Your spirit benefits -- as does your home when you celebrate it with customized appointments that reinforce the continued existence of Old-world craftmanship.  It feels good to live in a place where you share with others a one-of-kind item. 

In Gillian's words:  "“Many craft traditions have age-old systems of instruction and apprenticeship, and one proven safeguarding strategy is to reinforce and strengthen those existing systems by offering financial assistance to student and teacher to make transmission more attractive to both.”
When you visit Made by Hands of Britain, be prepared to spend some quality time. There's much to see, learn and consider. Thank you, Gillian, for introducing yourself -- and your country's many talented and inspiring artists!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Before and After Bathroom -- From Dated to Pretty -- AND Take a Look at This Wooden Tub

Houston Interior Designer Carla Aston
Does It Again (see a teen room she did here)
For Homeowners Wanting an Upgrade in Their Bathroom

Lovely! (It's probably their favorite room in the house now.)
Antique brass hardware, lighting, and fixtures bring out the warm tones of the onyx and marble and complement the look of the rest of the home.  Glossy paint on the cabinetry provided a reflection and lightness that helped brighten the space.
"With a very small footprint and no way to expand the bathroom or closet, the homeowners wanted to remodel to get the maximum use of space they had, to get rid of some annoyances, and to upgrade finishes.  The small shower was a big annoyance as was lack of storage space.  One requirement was to keep her vanity outside the main bathroom. They wanted to maintain a classic, traditional look that was in keeping with the style of the house," says Carla.

 The decision to use ceramic tile in the bath kept costs down. Carla used a little
marble on the shower seat and on the counter to convey touches of opulence. 
Note the mosaic tile flooring in the shower is on the back wall behind the sink.

She used the same little square tiles as on the built-in seat for a diamond patterned arrangement that breaks up the ceramic wall. 

 The homeowner's vanity is in the forefront here, and the entrance into the newly remodeled closet fronts this right wall. The rest of the main bathroom is beyond the door. Remember, the homeowner wanted her vanity area outside the main space, and Carla obliged. A nice use of space!

A BEFORE Shot of the Shower:

 Seeing this dated and unglamorous look gives
you an idea of the transformation Carla Aston achieved. Bravo!
(After photos by Miro Dvorscak) 

If you haven't already, I hope you'll check out Carla's blog --  ("Design in the Woods" -- so named for a residential community in north Houston). Click here.

How About a Nice Soak
in This Wooden Tub:
 Apparently, according to a write up in The Designer Pages, 
wooden soaking tubs are the thing in Asia. (If anyone is reading this and lives somewhere in Asia . . . let me know, are these teak carved tubs popular there?) It makes sense that teak wood might be used for a bathtub. After all, yachts seem to take to the wood quite well. The tub is distributed by Alegna. What do you think?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Online Shopping -- And One Gorgeous Dining Room

 Before We Shop --
Remember the Boldly Hip Living Room,
Posted Last Week? You Can See it Here.
A pillow and a painting in that living room served to inspire the peachy coral color 
of the homeowner's dining room.

It's a nice move when you walk from one room to another and feel like you're still in the same house. Even if each room evokes its own personality, it's a good point to have a connecting element. In this case, it's a peachy coral color that provides some continuity in rooms designed by Julie Dodson.

In a room that's strong in browns and tans, Julie added splashes of a color in the living room that assumes more prominence in the dining room. A look at the peachy coral accents -- the throw pillow and abstract painting -- in the living area:

Another look at the dining room:

(At the time of this post, Julie's link to her Web site was down. Hopefully, it gets repaired soon -- in case you want to see more of her work.)
-- first, a personal note

Dear Love Where You Live Visitors,

A LITTLE HISTORY:  I began this blog a couple of years ago as an offshoot of my work -- as 
a field editor for Meredith Publishing and the owner of a home furnishing boutique. When economic conditions forced us to close the shop, I still wanted to continue the blog -- for the enjoyment and because of newly made friendships.

TODAY'S EVENTS: My daughter, Kate -- a beautiful young woman with a talented techie touch -- recently introduced me to affiliate marketing. 
Since a considerable amount of time goes into making this blog interesting (at least that is the hope), inspirational and educational, we thought if we could make a few dollars doing it, that would be a nice bonus.

YOUR HELP PLEASE:  In our decision to become shop affiliates, we also wanted to share any monetary rewards with a worthy organization.
There are so many. But, the Alzheimer's Association seemed to be an especially important one. The devastation of losing your memory and abilities to do everyday tasks both saddens and frightens me. And I know the people affected feel the same way. The alarming truth is that the number of people being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease is growing. We would like to contribute to the research to reverse or control this horrible and unimaginable illness. We would appreciate your help.

PLEASE BOOKMARK our Shopping Page, which we will continue to expand. As a gift to you, we look for and alert you to discounts that certainly make shopping more fun and affordable.  Whenever you decide to buy from one of our online shops, we hope you'll come to Love Where You Live again and again. The thing is you must click on the shop when visiting Love Where You Live.

So, if you see something intriguing, just click on the link to the shop(s). There is no obligation to browse, if that's all you wish to do. Even though you click to shop,  your transactions will be completed on the store or company's secured site. Love Where You Live then will be recorded as the "salesperson."  Out our small commission, we will will share 25% of our commission with the Alzheimer's Association. Every penny counts!

So please-please shop with us. In a show of support for Love Where You Live. And to the Alzheimer's Association research pursuits.


Thank you so much. For your visits. For everything.

Go here to shop (we will be adding more...!)

My best,

p.s. Katie, honey, thank you for your ideas and contributions. Your support and help means a lot!

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