Monday, October 29, 2007

I'm BAAAAaaaack! The Halloween Party, The Fall Benefit and the Big Fat Remodel. A Cautionary Tale.

Once upon a time, there was a woman who was very young at heart and naively thought that she could do anything she set her mind to ( if she was organized enough and had the proper support staff). She had a very full life with a husband and two daughters and an Australian Shepherd named Cooper and her design career, all of which she managed pretty well. So the woman thought it might be fun to co-chair the decoration committee for a benefit for 650 people scheduled for October.

October rolled around and she realized she needed to plan the Halloween Party for her 12 year old daughter which had been promised ever since her older sister had a party when she was 12. Well, one couldn't have a party unless one was moved into the semi-finished remodel of one's new kitchen and basement studio, now could one? So the big push to move in was begun.

Meanwhile, the woman's husband scheduled a business trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg for a week and a half....... That's when the nightmares began. The woman would wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat asking herself "What have I done?!? I have over committed, and I will never get it all done!" Details would race through her mind day and night: " Have I bought enough gold leafy things for the decorations? Do we have black sprinkles for the cookies? Do we have enough white spider web stuff? Who is ordering the chair ties and the VIP gifts for the benefit? What is the phone number for the hotel in Moscow? How can we fit the extra ten seats in the new restaurant design for the upcoming Team Meeting? How will I get this daughter to violin while that daughter gets to soccer practice? Why is the powder room sink leaking?". The lists went on and on.

The woman was one step away from stepping into the static on the television screen......

Well, with alot of help, the woman managed to get through the stressful weeks and has lived to tell the tale. Here are a few images to show you all a glimmer of what has been happening over the last two weeks:

The tent for the Silent Auction and Wine Tasting part of the Fall Benefit for my daughter's High School known as "Revelry".

Some examples of the decorations. The theme was "Starry, Starry Night". Very original, I know. But one must work with what one is given, mustn't one?

Table decor and flowers for the "sit down dinner" part of the event.

After the mad rush to finish the decorations for the benefit, I raced home to decorate the house for the Halloween party:

A few tombstones and pumpkins. (The tombstones were made from the Styrofoam in the box that my new West Elm Parsons table came in. We just got through putting the table together in time for the party.)

My daughter picked the perfect party planning paper: Hello Kitty.

Now I ask you, what Halloween party would be complete without Jone's Candy Corn Soda and lots of cookies with black and grey frosting? ( Small shudder here.)

Halloween slipcovers, perfect for protecting furniture from Sprite and Rainbow Sherbet punch spills. (Photo from my as yet unfinished office/studio space.)

Pumpkin carving contest. Not real sure what some of these masterpieces are all about.

Here are a few of the fab party guests!

OK....I know you have been waiting for a peek at the the remodeling progress, so I will not keep you in suspense. Although not complete ( no furniture, accessories, etc.) here are a few pics of the kitchen:

Sorry about the picture quality!

We are partially moved in, at least enough to forgo the paper plates and cups! It is almost surreal to be able to use a real stove and dishwasher again!

So this post is my "Ode" to Decorno's "Original Content" plea. Now that things have calmed down a bit, I will be back to regular postings. Thanks to all of you who have patiently hung in there with me!


Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Hello all! I am in a screaming vortex of chaos for the next week (otherwise known as my life). I will be back and tell you all about it as soon as I can, with pictures to illustrate my tale.

Til then, I will miss you!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hawaiian Style

I know it's Fall, and I love Fall. The leaves, the harvest colors, pumpkins and all that. But I had to share a couple of Island obsessions I am having at the moment:

I have been an admirer of Marion Philpotts-Miller for years, so when I saw this article with her house in the latest Coastal Living (October 2007), I had to share. As a matter of fact, this house, when I first saw it, was an inspiration in the remodel of my own house. I decided to use V-groove paneling in my house after seeing the board and batten walls in her kitchen and sitting room here:

Marion Philpotts-Miller has a wonderful relaxed aesthetic that is so well put together and timeless. You come to realize that the long term colors are very neutral, but she adds alot of color with pillows and accessories that can be changed whenever the mood strikes. Take a look at her website with partners, Charles De Lisle and Jonathan Staub.

Another recent obsession are the quilts of Robin Ferrier. Robin is a fantastic artist who lives on Maui. ( She, ahem, also just so happens to be my cousin! ) She applies her talents to creating beautiful contemporary wall quilts with hand-dyed fabrics she creates herself. Wonderfully graphic, these quilts are truly works of art. Robin has a very informative blog that chronicles her methods and more of her work. So check it out!

Some of you may be familiar with more traditional Hawaiian quilting styles. Donghia has used this style as inspiration for their outdoor fabric line. Just another obsession:

Big Island and Oahu Indoor/Outdoor Fabric by Donghia

Here is the Donghia fabric used on a Bertoia chair in an interior by designer Philip Galanes. Loving it!

House and Garden Feb. 2006, Photo by Thomas Loof

I hope this adds a little sunshine into your Fall day!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Getting a Handle on Things

Well the kitchen is getting closer. Thought I would show you some of the "jewelry" I have been adding:

I had seen handles like this in a Thomas O'Brien kitchen and I had to have them, no matter the cost. I could not find the source for these beauties anywhere, so I went ahead and called Thomas O'Brien's office and they could not have been nicer! They informed me the handles were from Forms and Surfaces. They were perfect. They were also over $25 a knob. But I was willing to go there because they were "it"! I am happy that Domino Magazine reprinted the Thomas O'Brien kitchen in their November issue because I had lost the original picture:

This kitchen has been one of the inspirations for my own. I like everything about it: the stainless steel table, the mirrored backsplash, the glass cabinets....and the hardware.

Well, I added up how many knobs I needed and....well, was a little concerned. Sadly, I am not one who should really go around spending thousands of dollars on cabinet hardware. So I thought I should make one more attempt to find an alternative. Lo and behold, I found the handle you see on my cabinets in the photo at the top. I ordered a sample and it was beautiful and definitely close enough! It is from Hickory Hardware, and I am relieved to say is only $5.25.

These are the knobs I put on my Butler's Pantry cabinets. A little more formal and perfect for my 1911 house. They are from Restoration Hardware and very nice quality. I'm very happy with them!

And the knobs for my Powder Room are from Anthropologie at $6.00 each. They have such wonderful knobs! And many of the options are online.

To update on the kitchen, appliances have been installed and finished plumbing and lighting fixtures are going in this week. We are getting close. I have informed my contractor that we are having a Halloween party, so he had better get his A@# in gear and finish or ELSE! (I won't even bore you with that whole story...well maybe one day when I am moved in and can gain some perspective.)

Stay Tuned!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

This is Cool! Thomas O'Brien for Hickory Chair

New Thomson Dining Room Table and Dabney Chairs by Thomas O'Brien for Hickory Chair.

The table looks like a "found" top with plumbing pipe legs. And the chairs are beautifully detailed with tufted seat and back. I am loving these!