Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bloomingdale's Big Window Challenge

In case you haven't heard the big window challenge is going on in New York as I type, and voting ends tomorrow! Three very talented designers: Eddie Ross representing Elle Decor, Eileen Joyce representing Bloomingdales, and Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan representing Apartment Therapy (of course!) have each created a fascinating window room vignette incorporating in at least one key Bloomingdales pieces. All three rooms took me by surprise. With three different designers with completely different styles you can expect a good bit of variety, but I was shocked by the range of styles, and even more so by the particular styles that Eddie and Maxwell expressed. I like all of them for different reasons, but I particularly like the cozy eclectic vibe of Maxwell's room: "The writer's romantic supper." It's polar opposite from what we've seen of his own well-edited, clutter-free homes. I especially love the painted bookcase mural that AT's color therapist, Mark Chamberlain, painted for the vignette. So old world! Maxwell is often slammed for being too unsentimental about possessions in general and books in particular--advising people not to hold onto things/books they don't love or use regularly--so it was fun and interesting to see a room completely drowning in tomes.

So many bloggers have expressed much more eloquent opinions about Eddie's room than I can do at this hour (WAY past this girl's bedtime) so I won't expound much.

I admire its vibrancy, pleasing symmetry, and bold mix of color, pattern, and form--the signature vases and bust!!! There is just one detail I can't convince myself to totally love, the Hinson splatter wallpaper... and I really wish that I could. It's certainly a show-stopper which is a huge part of what the competition is about, so I'm sure that design-wise it totally works, but man, I suppose I'm just not modern woman enough. I've been keeping an eye out for explanations of why people do like the paper in particular, but I haven't seen any commentary on it. I am completely smitten with his blog and every other design masterpiece I've seen of his, but I keep trying to picture the room with something else on the walls. Any thoughts?

And now, you can go vote!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

beautiful imperfection

Last week we had all of our windows replaced as our 5 year anniversary present to each other, very romantic! When I walked in during the process I was struck by how lovely the chaotic scene was--so sunny and airy and imperfect! It reminded me of an anthropologie photo-shoot (ie, photo above)...minus the uber-styling of their talented creative directors :)
I thought briefly about how to incorporate that "undone" type of beautiful chaos into my home everyday, but then I realized that I already have....

Cheers to those good decisions!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

establishing a mood

I've spent a lot of my life trying to distance emotions from aesthetics, only to discover recently that they can't really be separated. Successful rooms are ones that elicit "feelings"--I really cringe writing that sentence--so cheesy--but I'm absolutely convinced that it's true, so I might as well say, er, write it out loud :)
One of the interiors that I'm getting ready to help design belongs to a couple who have been married for over 15 years and have had 4 previous homes. However, despite having some nice furniture and functional floor plans, they've never really enjoyed any of the homes. While talking with the wife, I suddenly realized that the easiest way to assess what they really want to get out of their home was to ask how certain elements--colors, furniture, etc.-- made them feel, and how they wanted other rooms to make them feel. At first I felt a little uncomfortable, but it was kind of a revelation to both of us. She actually knew a lot more about her tastes than she though initially, and I have a much clearer vision of how I'm going to go about helping them with their home.

Without really knowing it, all of the pictures in my personal inspiration file for our home have a very similar feel to them, and although they're quite different in some respects, all have a similar effect on me.To describe the collective interiors themselves (some of them are pictured here) I would use the words: warm, a little gritty and industrial, sturdy, vintage, old, slightly whimsical, and imperfect.
But I would also say that these qualities make me feel at ease, loosely ordered, contemplative, and creative.
In books, magazines, and homes that I help with, I love energetic color and playful accent pieces, but in my own home I want the overall feeling to be calm, unfussy, and laid back. And I've found that warm light grays, ivories, whites, aquas, and earthy greens as color choices, and natural textures like rough hewn wood, slubby linen, and light cotton complete the feeling.

(Images: 1: torie jayne via pinkwallpaper, 2: anthropolgie, 3: unknown, 4: country living, 5: Marie Claire Maison, 6: Apartment Therapy:NY Sue & Jared's artist loft, 7: mine, 8: Elle Decor, Darryl Carter's Virginia Farmhouse)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Catherine's House Tour

Catherine's house tour finally made it to Apartment Therapy! It was supposed to go live on Thursday, but there was a glitch in our posting program, and it didn't get posted until today. You can check it out here.

Catherine was totally delightful, and hilarious! It's so much fun to walk into a home that's both cozy and interesting, and lived in. Anyone that knows me also knows that I could spend an entire day looking through shelter magazines. "Done up" homes are such a treat to look at, esp. in a magazine, but real homes--ones that are full of the personalities of the people who live there--are something special. They are a hundred times more inspiring than anything I see in magazines because I get to see how the inhabitants have worked around certain obstacles and how they've incorporated hand-me-downs, heirlooms, and "placeholder" furnishings into their homes.

Even though we have rather different styles, Catherine totally captured the feeling that I would love to incorporate into my home--laid back, simple, unpretentious, and creative. Now, you should go check it out.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Style Quiz

The last time I took a quiz not for school I was probably 16, but I love this style quiz (from sproost), so I decided to indulge (again) should too! I like to take it when I should be writing an article, but have a mental block. I always come up with rustic revival and vintage modern...and sometimes cottage chic too, which is probably pretty accurate. They've collected a wonderful collection of images, and it's actually very helpful too if you're confused as to what you really like in terms of style. Once they formulate your style, they list a bunch of furniture selections that might suit your taste. Helpful indeed, but mostly, it's just fun.

Go try it!

Friday, January 8, 2010

5 years of you!

Yes you, Rich, my sweet fat gene bach, whom I love just a bit more today than I did...
10 years ago....or even on

this day 5 years ago. And...

a little more than even the day we had her. Or...
her. More than...

this day last month. And maybe even...
a tiny bit more than yesterday.

Thank you for making me a Moss, I'm grateful.

(Images: my wedding photographs by the illustrious photographer, Marcie Revens, who is also the writer of this illustrious blog)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Rooms That Scream (or whisper, rather) Serene

This month at Apartment Therapy, we're focusing on bedrooms and healthy living, and when I picture good health and happy living, these images are exactly what comes to mind. All emphasize simplicity, peacefulness, and calm through natural textures and neutral hues. The hardest part about incorporating this laid back, subtle style into a normal home is working with the general lack of architectural detail that most homes post late forties exhibit. This style works best with wood floors, plaster walls, and high ceilings.

Homes with wall to wall carpet and low ceilings require a bit more creativity, but it's easy to accomplish a peacefulness even so. I've found that the best way to work around this is with neutral wall colors with gray and taupe undertones (like the second to last pic. warm beiges can look dingy unless you get a LOT if natural light and have a variety of light sources for night time) and lots of natural textures. Layering a sisal, jute, or seagrass rug over the carpet creates a focal point and a similar natural vibe as worn wooden floors.

(Images: 1 notebook mag, 2 Marie Claire Maison, 3: 11 bonita, 4: jim cooper, 5: jake curtis, 6: cecilia granath, 7: sharon cairyns)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

wild wild horses

As I've been gathering inspiration for our home, I've noticed a recurring theme: horses! Wild ones!

Almost every part of our home has been influenced at least a little by the homes of my husband's grandparents. We are lucky enough to have all four of them still living, and some of our best memories have been made while visiting their homes in Ecuador, Arizona, and Colorado. And they happen to be where we fell in love with horses.

Horses have a been a huge part of my husband's life. Not in the usual east coast equestrian sense though. He spent a lot of his childhood at his grandparents' cattle ranches in Ecuador and Paraguay, and was allowed free reign of most horses in a way that I can only dream of. When I visited the ranch in Ecuador I fell in love with the rugged oasis. It's situated on the coast and is surrounded by a coconut palm forest. The house itself is simple and rustic, but that's part of the beauty. You feel tied to your surroundings...especially when the power and water supply go dead inexplicably!

While everything at the ranch is beautiful, I especially loved seeing the horses. it's one thing to see horses prancing around a polo field near the Potomac, but it was completely breathtaking to see them galloping in packs down a completely undeveloped coastline (sometimes with my husband and brother in laws riding on them bare back--yikes!).

Whenever I come across one of Roberto Dutesco's powerful horse portraits from his Wild Horses of Sable Island series, they remind me of our time at the ranch...which is exactly why I want to incorporate one of them into our home. Here are a few of my inspirations...

The two above are from one of my favorite houses ever, designed by Christine Lane. Whenever I'm looking for inspiration, I go to this house. It has the most serene feel to it. You'll be seeing more of it in future here for sure.
and a bigger version in a another amazing space designed by Thom Filicia below:Horse decor can definitely border on cheesy...or pretentious or both, but the ones above have me absolutely crazy. The large scale and the close up view make for drama rather than cheesiness in my opinion. Not like a a stallion rearing into the sunset on a beach or something (much cooler in real life than in a photograph).

Last night I ran the inspirations by Apartment Therapy readers, and (shocker;) there were a few who definitely did not share my enthusiasm. But there were also some great new sources suggested for more horse photographers.

(Images: 1: Roberto Dutesco, 2,3: Christina Lane Interiors, 4: House Beautiful of Thom Filicia's Big Chill Showhouse, 5: Elle Decor, 6: Thom Filicia)


some kind AT readers added these, and I love them every much as Roberto Dutesco's

from the amazing pioneer woman, and it's downloadable here...which means you might be seeing it in our living room very soon ;)

and I'm not sure where this one is from, but it's stunning, isn't it?
Growing up , it seemed like there was always a little girl in every class that was completely obsessed with horses--dreaming about them, drawing them, wanting one... and that's how I feel...just about 15 years too late :)

and this is from a recent trip to Matthew's Home and Garden, which I'll be reviewing tomorrow for Apartment Therapy. I wish I could show you the whole series. There were two more, one a the horses mane from behind, and another one of the ridge of it's back--so beautiful!
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