Green with Envy: St. Patrick’s Day

One of the most overlooked “holidays”, St. Patrick’s day is mostly known for green beer, corned beef and cabbage. Gone are the college days of the pub crawl; yet every year almost everyone participates in some way or another, usually by wearing something green (or getting pinched if you’re not!).  I happen to be partly Irish, and it’s also the day of my parent’s wedding anniversary- plenty of reasons to celebrate!

Either way, decorating the home or having a fun themed dinner is always a pleasant way to celebrate this month, whether you’re Irish or not! Who turns down good food and beer?

 

Start by getting your hands on as much green as you can- It’s hard to miss at all the stores.  Most often, it’s a monotonous sea of garish Kelley Green; but here I’ll show you how to break it up, and make it have an elegant feel. Green wrapped candies, mints, and chocolates are great treats; mini Leprechaun hats and 4-leaf clovers make fun party favors; and of course: flowers.

st6

 

Choosing different tones of green, as well as different heights, create depth and bring a dramatic element to your flowers. Break it up with a classic white filler flower; and you have full, vibrant arrangement. I love the way the bright fluffy green hydrangeas fill out the vase, leaving the tall bell stalks to bring volume. Place around the house to bring a fresh, green glowing flow.

 

For the “fun stuff” (i.e.: guest treats), display in different shaped vases, bowls, and canisters. Filled with candy, and favors is a great way to not only bring green into the room; but your guests as well!

 

And last, but definitely not least…  the dinner table. A place to gather with friends and family, enjoy hearty food, and drink ’til content!

 

Starting with linens, choosing different shades of green will bring depth and layers. When choosing china and glassware, break out anything with gold trim… Gold is a huge part of the Irish day! These plates and champagne glasses both have gold trim, and bring a gleam and warmness to the table. Keep it simple with low flowers. Here I used continuing hydrangeas to continue the flow, and give a great pop of an unusual green. Lastly, white candles keep it classic: however a combination of green tapers or pillars with gold candleholders would be a great way to bring a richer feel to the table.

 

All you need to add is the friends, food, and drink! For the non- beer drinkers (or wine lovers), most bottles are made of green glass, so it makes a welcome addition to the table!

Cheers- to hopes of finding your pot o’ gold!

Creating Romance: Valentine’s Day Dinner at Home

The second month of the year is upon us, and that means seeing RED! Of course, that could mean 2 things: you are in love and want to share this month with your significant other; or you are single and don’t want to be alone. Well, luckily I have dinner decor solutions for both! (Even for you guys out there- pay attention! The ladies want to be pampered!)

If you are in a relationship, make the evening special by making it intimate. If you can, start by setting up in a cozy nook of the house, against a window with a view, or possibly in bed? Of course you can use the obvious dining room table, but make it feel like date night in a different part of the house- create something unexpected. Next, layer on the red! Red, burgundy, pink, maybe even purples, so that the impact really gives it a wow factor. If you have any dish ware, bowls, china, glasses, etc. that have those colors, don’t be afraid to overload it. In this case, it can never be too much!

Polish it up with nice stemware- making sure to have BOTH champagne and wine glasses- after all, you will be celebrating, and not want to have to leave the table 🙂 Add fresh flowers (roses, tulips, something exotic like red ginger), candles, tea lights, (scented or not), and make sure when placing them to keep it low and out of the view line- you want to be glancing in each others eyes all night!

 

Now for all you single ladies who don’t want to be alone, (or if you just want to host a Vday dinner) throw a “single ladies dinner party”! Dress up the table with your best; same ideas as above, but now take it to the “fun” level. Placing glass jars filled with different candies and chocolates make it fun to sneak some treats. Use of glittery or silver/metallic reflective pieces creating a fun, dancing glow against candlelight. Again, load up on the flowers- not only do they look beautiful and inviting to touch, they fill the house with such a wonderful scent! Make sure to have plenty of champagne and wine (at both ends of the table!) to either celebrate your freedom, or help drown your sorrows! After all, it can’t be that bad if you’re surrounded by fabulous decor and friends!

Back to Basics: Black & White

The simplicity that is black and white; and not to be confused with old or boring. Using these 2 colors (or non-colors, as some would argue) can be the building steps to creating a fresh, clean and dramatic look to your homes. 

 

Starting with lighting, it can be a huge change to add something dramatic and black. Many think black lighting is too gothic, but it can also just add drama to an all white room, or toughen up a space with its color. If you don’t want too much black, you can always try a clear/crystal lighting, and either add dark shades, or place it in a dark room to add brightness. Remember, once the fixture’s turned on, there is light!

 

Lets now address accessories. Adding just the right piece of art, whether formal or whimsical, can bring you just a touch of glamour.  Have fun with pillows, like these shown (patent faux croc and cowhide, against a black leather couch) which add depth and texture. Coffee table books in a tray keep the accessories consistent,  while still inviting guests to peek. A great feature can be wallpaper- with literally thousands to choose from, you can definitely find something right for you, even if it’s just an accent wall. Want a playful addition? A white greyhound statue added to the mix will make your place feel regal and protected!

 

Providing guests with hidden nooks of simple color make both the spaces stand out on their own, as well as providing a chic and clean color pallet as a backdrop. 

 

Finally, styling your home to entertain. Crystal, metallics, and glass create strong lines, while helping reflect light against dark walls and furniture. While fluffy white flowers bring softness and a welcoming tone. Playing patters against each other is also a fun way to bring life to your black and white space. Upholstered chairs with luxe dinnerware, against modern lines of a vase and flatware, combined with linens and glasswares- all keeping in line with color blocking- provide a feast for the eyes… no food needed! 

Setting a New Year’s Eve Table

Oh, the big New Year’s decision: go out and party like a rockstar, or stay in and throw a fabulous dinner party? Depending on your situation, a dinner party is always a good idea- not being out amongst drunk drivers, not eating from an overpriced preset menu you cannot change, not dealing with belligerent party goers- I’d say a dinner party sounds great!

You know everyone wants to drink champagne, dance, and enjoy good food; so creating an equally exciting ambience for your guests is the fun part of getting your home ready. Setting the perfect table will bring that “going out” experience to the home!

 

Start with an empty table, pulling away any extra chairs, and giving you a clear way to view the overall layout, deciding how your guests will be situated, and making sure everyone has enough room (no one wants to be elbowing each other!)

Start the layering process. Adding textured metallic, and mix matching metals will really bring out the traditional colors of New Year’s: black, silver, white, and gold. Here I have silver and black woven placemats with silver chargers, and then gold-rimmed white dinner and salad plates.

 

Add stemware and silverware. Depending on what you’re serving, (and what your courses are), make sure you have enough. Here I’m mixing a clear water glass with black wine goblets, and gold trimmed champagne glasses. Your guests will definitely not be confused as to which glass contains what, and the color scheme is continuing.

 

This is also the time to break out the fancy silverware you’ve been holding on to. If you have wedding china, grandparents heirlooms, or anything else decorative- this is the reason to use it! After all, you’re setting a table for the last night of the year, and the start of a new one- make it special!

 

Add flowers and candles. This is where the first step (clearing the table completely) really helps. You can get an overview of exactly how the finishing touches are going to be, and make sure they don’t interfere with the guest’s eye-line and conversation. There is nothing more difficult than trying to hold a conversation over a too-tall floral arrangement, or dodging candles in the way of a face. Low flowers (white fluffy hydrangeas) spread down the table give fullness and bring softness, while mixed metal candles and tapers (again, white, silver, black and gold) complete the continuity. Adding place cards finishes the layout and clears confusion for guests.

 

For the after-dinner festivities, have a table ready with party favors. Guest can have fun and dress up in spirit, and ring in the New Year with props to make all the photos you’re going to take- New Year’s Eve festively perfect!

Cheers, and Happy New Year!

 

Choosing a Color- Themed Holiday: Winter White

The Holidays are a long festive time filled with friends, dinners and parties- which means a bunch of frenzy, Christmas sweaters, color and personality. Every year, we choose a Holiday color theme that will be incorporated throughout the house. It provides cohesiveness to the environment you are providing your guests- as well as keeping you sane. This year we chose to do peaceful Winter White. To break it up, we included metallics, mainly silver; along with hints of gold, bronze, crystal, and glitter. Check out the pictures below for this years decor, and I will break down the easy how-to steps!

photo 1-9

Our home was already neutral with whites and grays, so that was a plus. Buying some metallic silver holiday pillows, and adding a white Amaryllis in a holiday pot finishes a crisp look. An added touch? Silver spray painted cranberries to top off the potted plant!

 

The mantle is always a focal piece in the house, aside from the tree. Usually people go all out with swag, and it can look busy and cluttered. We didn’t want the already detailed and  ornate stonework to be overshadowed, so it was kept minimal. Simple lit garland entwined with silver acorns kept it clean, while added height with Paper Whites in glazed white pots created height. Of course, there cannot be a chimney for Santa without stockings- these white faux fur were one of the the best finds this year! Three stockings are hung by silver mantle pieces, while the other two are bronze and crystal.

 

Of course, the tree. Applying only clear lights, and every existing ornament we already had in white, silver, metallic, or glass. Then picking up a few items- silver bell garland, icicle drips, snowflakes, silver acorns (again, creating an even theme/flow throughout) and my favorite; the piece-de-resistance: our silver crown tree topper! After first seeing it in a design catalog, this was actually the idea which started our theme.

 

Now this might be going to the next level for some, but I definitely love the result. Choosing the wrapping paper to stick with the color theme. It’s such a crisp and clean look on Christmas morning, and as people have said, “it looks like it’s out of a catalog!” Well, that’s the whole idea in the end- to have a picture perfect holiday! As you can see, even certain brands will create or option special holiday edition wrapping or packaging- which makes it easy!

 

Side tables, or other areas can provide perfect places for extra holiday decor. In sticking with our theme, the glass vitrines (which we change monthly depending on season or holiday) were filled with white and silver ornaments, and candy. One jar has only silver wrapped chocolates; the other, white peppermint m&ms- both of which are easy to find during this time of year, and it creates an inviting reason for guests to come and enjoy!

 

Lastly, we added floral finishing touches throughout the home. The tall white vase is home to dried branches; some are plain, others are coated in silver or “crystal/glitter snow”. To bring in just a little bit of holiday warmth, the bouquets are kept simple- white flowers, with just a touch of red berries. The evergreen branches create volume, provide a wonderful scent with the roses, and of course; a little added “snow spray” continues the white theme!

Giving New Life to Vintage

Probably 99.9% of the population want brand new things when it comes to home items. However, your rooms can start to lack charm and personality without a nod to the past. Even in a new modern home, an antique art piece can soften a room, while a sleek men’s office could feel nostalgic with old trophies or vintage lighting.

For this project, I was looking for a white sideboard / console that I could use in an office space. I could have gone with something sleek and shiny, but decided to find a vintage piece to convert. This is what I found:

Console (before)

Console (before)

Yep, you’re thinking the same thing I am- ugly. However, a little imagination and some paint go a long way. Don’t be afraid of a project like this- the payoff after the time and love put into something like this is definitely worth it! When the seller told me he didn’t have a white version, he offered to paint it for me. Now this piece is old and heavy, so I took him up on the offer. However, when it came to me, it was a dull and powdery white. As the saying goes, “If someone can’t do it correctly, you might as well do it yourself.”

The "white" paint getting a high gloss makeover.

The “white” paint getting a high gloss makeover.

I sanded down the layer of paint, and went over it with a brilliant white, high gloss spray. Many coats were used in this process. Of course, I had one minor additional problem. I already had a white desk, but the whites were off. So The desk itself got a new paint job.

Painting the desk white

Painting the desk white

After both had dried, and new knobs were applied (lead crystal with gold detail), They were finally ready to become an actual set- and complete the updated vintage office look!

The finished look

The finished look

Adding Drama to your Windows

Windows with original blinds

Windows with original blinds

There are window coverings, and then there are STATEMENTS.  One of the easiest ways to change a room is by adding curtains.  Anybody can put up a rod and hang some panels, but to achieve a “wow” factor?

Window with panels too low

Window with panels too low

Add height. Bringing curtain rods up higher than the actual window frame, as well as wider on both sides; will create the illusion your room is both larger, and your ceilings taller. Make sure to measure how high you want your rod to be, and compare with the drape sizing available. One of my favorite effects with drapery is  “floor-to-ceiling”, but I often can’t find panels long enough. That’s when I head to the fabric store: more fabric than you can imagine, and in any length you need. Either they can hem the ends, or have your tailor do it.

Now that's a window!

Now that’s a window!