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Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Around the Kelley House. . .12/20/13

It seems like every year instead of adding more decorations to the house, I trim them down. It gets harder and harder to put them up when there's always someone smaller and smaller around. For example, this year the older kids didn't get to put up their mini trees in their rooms (the ones they get to decorate on their own) and they were initially pretty bummed about that until I explained it was dangerous for their baby brother and that satisfied them. But for the rest of the house, there's just always an image of someone getting hurt, and truth be told, it gets harder and harder to do it all and take it down. The only part the kids really care about is the tree and the Elf on the Shelf. . .maybe the Nutcrackers around the house. Mommy loves the various nativity scenes that I've started collecting and anything else is gravy. Garland? Maybe in the next house. . .
Nutcrackers standing at attention on the mantle in the living room. . .one set on the left. . .
. . .and one on the right.
Atop my Christmas gift last year (this antique buffet) sits a nativity scene I found in Cabo San Lucas this summer. I love it. 
A close up. On an old tarnished silver tray, with a torn piece of lace and some Christmasy sprays surrounding it. 
Facing our staircase is my first and favorite nativity scene by Willowtree. 
I considered adding to it this year because it has multitudes of other pieces that come with it but I really love the simplicity of this - I think it mimics the simplicity of how the Savious came into this world. No pomp. No circumstance. Yet He is King of Kings. 
And long long ago when we first got married, when it was just me and Rusty, I bought FIVE of these stockings  (strange considering I have always wanted four kids) and this year I monogrammed the last in the set. . .
Sweet Brooks. The best present under my tree last year. . .
Our buffet and hutch in the dining room: normally austere with only white stoneware and platters  yet come Christmas is adorned with nutcrackers of all varieties. I love all the characters! My favorites are the Parisian at the far right and the Park Ranger in the middle.
Another nativity scene. This one is small and sweet.
Accompanying our family photos in the wine room are some wooden figurines and holly.
Our tree this year. MUCH more understated than usual. I didn't use ANY of our typical ornaments. Literally left off about 100 ornaments, added this burlap ribbon (I usually have burlap bows) and called it a day.
Also, this year I found this children's nativity play set by Melissa & Doug. The kids always want to play with mine and they are OFF limits. So, when I saw this I bought it and gave it to them early so they could arrange it to their hearts desires. 
These poor trees have been around forever and are as fragile as blown glass but I love them :) 
Sweet tiny wreaths hanging from the french doors leading to the study, now the piano room. 
Wreaths on the windows/doors in the living room. I swapped out the red ribbons for burlap this year to mirror the tree. I tend to like a country-esque Christmas. Formal trees and decorations don't read "christmas-y" to me - it's not cozy and warm or inviting - but that's only my personal opinion and taste. 
These jingle balls were ornaments but since I wasn't using them on the tree this year I cut their strings off, and rustically restrung them together with twine for a door decoration. It is Brook's FAVORITE place to play these days!! Which is great for me because I always know where he is ;)
A small tree with no home finds a place on our coffee table.
I usually display our friends' Christmas cards from long ribbon on our stair rail but this year time has been hard to come by. Daddy has travelled A LOT and mommy has taken on a part time job and we added a third child to the mix so a sweet wire basket sitting next to a planted boxwood holds all our lovely friends' holiday wishes. 
Even my cookbook stand gets a fresh swap for the season. This is my FAVORITE Christmas cookbook. Note all the tabs. . .they've never come up with one as good as this one. 
Our powder bathroom. A homemade sign on twine offers a holiday reminder.
It's all in the details.
Where I usually have garland little Rusty took a couple of hours this year and made a beautiful red and green paper chain that runs the full length of the stair rail. He was so proud of himself!
And all the kids have their own second stocking on their bedroom door. These are the stockings that actually get stuffed. Rusty went ahead and put a Spiderman toy in his to get the party started ;) 
The newest stocking.
My little princess.
And THAT is what Christmas around here looks like this year, 2013. 
Merry Christmas to you and yours. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Mad About Chinoiserie. . .9/13/13

I love love love chinoiserie. There isn't much of it in my home at this point but that's more an issue of space not of choice. It's fanciful, fun and almost always colorful. . .or at least can be. But if you've never met my friend chinoiserie, which is by the way a mixture of eastern and western style elements recurring in shape and decoration, you might find you're a fan once you do. Here's a quick bit of information of this style which you might confuse for Asian but is in fact European in birth. 
Chinoiserie is a French term, signifying "Chinese-esque" and it refers to a recurring theme in European artistic styles since the seventeenth century, which reflect Chinese artistic influences. It is characterized by the use of fanciful imagery of an imaginary China, by asymmetry in format and whimsical contrasts of scale, and by the attempts to imitate Chinese porcelain and the use of lacquerlike materials and decoration.
Take a peek a some images below and tell me what you think? Yay or nay? Would you style it in your home? A little or a lot?

This dining room is simply grand. It reminds me of something from a film.; the kind where the entire movie takes place in one room; of english nobility. 
A lone chair or some pillows (in photograph below) are a great way to throw in some chinoiserie into your home without committing to the style in an overly styled way. The simplicity of this keeps it eclectic versus themed.  
This room adds a little more with the table in addition to the pillows but as any eclectic designer will tell you, mixing styles gives a room and a home more personality than something matchy matchy. It gives the impression that there is a history and a home has been designed over time and with love as opposed to decorated in a weekend. 
If you LOVE chinoiserie like I do or at least appreciate it in any way, like to throw  a splash of it here and there, try something fun like this personalized ice bucket. I think this would be a lovely gift too!
There is something so sophisticated about cobalt blue and the fact that your home's first impression is a cobalt blue door with antique chinoiserie mail slot and knocker takes sophistication to an entirely new level. It's bold, sexy, and formidable. 
I truly LOVE this bathroom. From the pedestal sink to the wallpaper to the blue painted chair. It's so clean, crisp and cheerful. 
Clarence House Chinoiserie Baroque wallpaper. Subtle but sublime. 
This hallway has great defining floors that drawn the eye's attention to the ground but my eye tends to drift upward and to the middle to the fabulous wallpaper. I only wish there were more of it. 
This pillow is a fabulous little touch to any room. A splash of pink never hurt anyone anywhere. 
I love love love this look. It's so bright, so fine. The branch drapery rods are so interesting against the antique chinoiserie hutch. The chair and the bright pink and reds together and incredibly bold choices. Walking into a home that looks like this is almost like a version psychiatry. . . you can tell a lot about someone just by looking in their home.

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Treat For Me. . .3/8/13

Sometimes we mothers need a treat and for each of us a "treat" is defined differently. I have at times treated myself with a mani/pedi, a wonderful dessert or night out, a new outfit etc. This time around I decided that I was going to go for something I've said I was going to go for for a LONG time now. 

The last few years I have really wanted to purchase a new set of everyday china. I even created a birthday registry for my family at a store in town I love so they could buy me place settings instead of hapless unnecessary gifts. However, it never materialized in the past years. I realize that if i want it, I'd better start collecting it on my own. SO this week, I received a flyer in the mail for a BIG sale at my favorite china store and I immediately was reminded of my "treat". . .so I drove myself down there and purchased one place setting and one piece of serve ware for my new china. . .one of the many (if I'm being honest with you) that I have wanted since I basically became engaged. Here it is. . .happy Friday to me :)

My Spode Italian Blue


Monday, February 25, 2013

A Kitchen Re-Vamp. . .2/25/13

Last year I was contracted to help redo this house. Set in the lovely neighborhood of Briargrove in Houston, it had quaint and cozy features, could definitely use a facelift but most of all showed promise. Nothing some carpentry, paint and refinishing couldn't help. So, it was sold to my client like this and for the sake of offering you "before" pictures, this is what I have despite the fact that all furnishings are from the previous owners. 

This is the dining room. We didn't do much except remove the drapery and replace the crown molding above the windows to lie flat against the wall. We also removed some outdated wainscoting. 
 This is the teensy tiny kitchen. It had very old appliances, cabinetry that was as older than my client and absolutely no storage space. The kitchen felt like it was closing in on us and was completely closed off from the rest of the house with only a small doorway for access. 
 This small study off the kitchen didn't require too much work but did need new hardware for the cabinets, paint on all cabinetry and walls and a re-stain of the floor.
 Another shot of the kitchen - old and sad.
 From the small doorway in the kitchen you could access the living room. Had nice lighting but the entire house needed hardwood re-stain and replacing of several planks that had water damage and were warped. Not to mention the sad brown color of the cabinets. Yikes!
 The living room view from the vantage point of the windows.
 One of the bedrooms - would need to be turned into a little girls room. 
 The living room from the vantage point of the fireplace facing the small entrance to the kitchen. It felt claustrophobic. We blew that wall out thank you very much. 
So these are the before shots.  . .


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Peek at RoundTop. . .5/15/12

Round Top, Texas is always a fun find. If nothing else I always enjoy scouring miles and miles of tents and fields for items as common as tables to the more obscure and detailed. . .and the odds are that the BEST way for me to find what I'm looking for is to put the thought of finding it OUT of my head and go with an open mind. The last few years I've come back LITERALLY empty handed and this year was no different. At least in the past I can come across a trinket or two but this year and last were absolute busts. . .not that I didn't lust after a few large and small items along the way. 
 I could sift through precious old silver for hours. Some of the pieces are so ornate and lovely. I can already imagine one day having a collection of beautiful pieces to use for serving when my kids and their families are all older. I hope.
 These incredible (and huge) dough bowls are amazing. One day I'll have room for a super long farm table that can host one of these super huge bowls right down the center!!
 Baskets! Baskets! Baskets! Who among us isn't ALWAYS in need of baskets?! These French ones are particularly enticing. 
 This year I went to Round Top with a dear designer friend who almost took this gorgeous industrial console made of reclaimed wood home with her. Giving it more thought she sadly realized she had nowhere to put it.
 I came back to this wine tasting table at least three times. You can't tell by the photograph but the height was very unusual - which is why I loved it so. It was about the height of an arm chair so would have been perfect in a living room or den next to a sofa or between two chairs.
Now these I was ready to take home. I am IN LOVE with mounted deer head and I have some in our home. I loved the enormity of their antlers and the backing but for $4,500 a piece I'm sure they'll make someone else much happier. 
 The pies de resistance was this antique Belgium secretary. I was stunning and priced to match. I appealed to my husband's better nature but lost.
 My designer friend bought two of these French hot air balloons for a the bedroom of a client's young daughter. They were so sweet. . .one over each of her twin beds.
 There was a vendor in one of the tents that had the most precious artwork. I fell in love with about 20 of them and their incredibly encouraging and loving sayings. Here are a few. . .
 Loved this one. Great to tell your kids daily anyway.
 Sweet for a nursery.
 The curve, design and hue of this dresser was so lovely.
 I had to photograph this sofa because as lovely as the patina and design both are, I was a little sickened by the dusty, stinky mustiness of it. I don't think this is an area of antiquing that is for me; I need to rest my head and body on a clean sofa. Restoration Hardware makes a nearly exact replica and for that sort of usage - newer is better to me.
 Love, love, love this piece. It was so heavy, sturdy and decadent.
These tables from Wendow in Austin, Texas were just perfect in size, height, style. Love the look and style of bleached furniture; something so calm, relaxed and casual about it.