Thursday, 9 February 2012

Curtains for the exercise room

Curtain mania continues at the red brick building.  Now that many of the higher priority curtains are done or on their way, I'm thinking about how to finish off the curtain buying and hanging by turning my attention to what remains: the exercise room, the head house, the guest shower and the pantry.

I realized that part of the problem with the exercise room is that I need to settle on the color palette.  It's painted Farrow and Ball Borrowed Light, which I love.  Here's a photo of the wall paint color from the Farrow and Ball website: 

The other color in the room right now is the dark brown of the 9 foot by 9 foot bookcase, made of the salvaged wood from the red brick building's original ceiling joists.  The trim is white. 

Yesterday, I combed my file of color combinations to see what I could find with pale blue, brown and white in it.  Three variations came up. 

a)  The first is the craziest.  (I think I'm emboldened by victory with the chocolate brown drapes in the master bedroom.)  Those three colors, plus crimson (and black):

Ballard Designs sells a highly rated (and cheap!) cotton twill drape in this crimson:

b)  Those three colors, plus deep dark blue (and maybe a little moss/olive green):

 Ballard sells the same cotton twill drape in this indigo:

I have a small piece of antiqued silk velvet fabric in just the right green, if I wanted to make a throw pillow or upholster the seat of a stool or chair and bring in the green that way.

c)  Those three colors plus a little bit of orange:

For this one I think I would stick with white curtains, rather than going with orange.  I just think that it would be too much orange in the space.  The inspiration photos feel fresh, bright and clean to me because they only have a touch.  I want to make a screen to divide the room when it pinch hits as a spare bedroom - I could see an orange and white pattern on said screen.  Or maybe just some orange in art or even a throw blanket.  I did like the white linen/cotton ones from Pottery Barn and could see getting those again.

I'm a bit hesitant about the whole cotton twill thing because it's so casual, but maybe it will give the room the lightness it needs as a workout space.  It does have the advantage of not costing the earth, which would be good in a space that we only spend a half hour a day in. 

My husband likes options a) and c) and thinks b) is too dark for a workout space.  I'm not so quickly convinced - I've always loved the idea of the exercise space feeling like a men's club library (hence the dark bookcase) rather than being super-bright like most gyms tend to be.  a) would give both moodiness and color but I don't have red anywhere else in the house (not counting the much more muted red brick in the master bathroom) and I worry that it will stick out like a sore thumb.  What do you think?

I think that when I get home I'm going to place a big order with Ballard and try some of these ideas out.  (I need to double check the measurements for the pantry's crewel-embroidered burlap panels that I blogged about yesterday.)  Now if only the hardware were more straightforward (two of the three windows die straight into perpendicular walls, with no space to mount hardware alongside)...

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

March issues of Architectural Digest and Elle Decor

I'm stuck in the airport in Charlotte en route to Gainesville because US Airways (terrible, horrible) left Boston late and made me miss my connecting flight.  They wanted to re-route me through Miami (Seriously? Three flights and 14 hours in airports to get from Boston to Florida?) but now I'm on a later, single flight to Gainesville that still gets in 13 hours after my initial departure.  Fortunately during hours of waiting, I've had good company from the March issues of AD and Elle Decor.  They're really inspiring.

I don't usually get AD but one of the blogs I read had sneak peak photos a couple of days ago of Diane von Furstenberg's NYC loft by the High Line so I just had to buy a copy.  I adore the magical High Line (to paraphrase DVF's description of it: a ribbon of green floating above the city) and the roof garden aspect and glass-ceilinged master suite made me think of my dear, humble red brick building, though of course DVF's place is way, way fancier and more costly.  The best photos from the article were on the blog already, but I enjoyed reading about her.  I'm not a big fan of her fashion (too many bold prints and bright colors for my taste) but I deeply admire her expansive spirit and the romance of her life.

The other delicious feature from AD is about Julianne Moore's garden.  So cool and mossy and still.  I have nowhere near enough shade to go there (and am happy with the sunniness of the red brick building's roof) but I still loved vicariously visiting her hideaway.  I was encouraged by her comment that the reclaimed bluestone pavers cost the earth but her architect talked her into it and now she thinks it was totally worth it.  I note the way she keeps the surfacing consistent throughout.  Our roughed up travertine was also an expensive item that gave me pause, but her garden and words are reinforcing my confidence in the choice.  Also in the decision I made a couple of weeks back to make the retaining walls around the patio and the steps out of the same material.

General remarks aside, I wanted to share a few images that I'm saving for future reference:

(From Elle Decor.)  I really like the way the forsythia looks next to the blue of the sofa.  Could this be the jewel-toned color combo I've been searching for the head house?

Another possible idea for the head house came from the image below:

I wonder if we have room to squeeze in a shelf above the windows? It would need to scooch around the dropped the ceiling joists but it could be a great way to bring some layering into the space.  I'm picturing plants in pots and interesting sculptural objets more than books.  I do have a history of loving shelves above doorways.  Really not sure we have enough space though - we'd need at least a foot.

Finally, since I'm in full-fledged curtain mode, two shots of window treatments:

This one is a possible for the head house.  It gets super hot up there and we definitely need to block or at least filter some sun.  I like the way these grass shades have their roll on the inside so it's visible, like a tent.

(I've also been looking at these sheer medallion drapes from Restoration Hardware Baby and Child:

They're very inexpensive but I'd need to do some alterations, so maybe not a bargain in the long run.  Also, I'm not sure about the light-blocking (Is it enough?) and the pattern (Does it clash with the staircase panels? Is it too trendy?).

Sorry the next image is so dark and gives just a glimpse of the curtain panel - it's shadowy in the original photo too, but click to super-size:

It makes me think of the drape for our kitchen pantry.  I like the fringe on the bottom hem of the panel.  The frayed look, reminiscent of an antique rug, which this might in fact be.  The more I look at fabrics, the more I think that an antique(d) woven panel is my ideal.  I almost bid on a Flemish tapestry last month but when I went to the preview it had too many condition issues for even impractical me to dream of putting it near food.  I've also been looking at these curtains from Ballard Designs, which are crewel-embroidered on burlap:

I'm worried about the scale of the design.  Is it too trendy?  Maybe I should just order a pair and return them is they don't do the trick?  I would love the be able to close that space off....

Before and After: Wingback Chair

I had my husband's grandmother's wingback chair sent out to be reupholstered.  I cannot believe how quickly they turned it around: two weeks, including pick up and delivery.  In Renovation Years that's barely the time between breaths.  I'm so impressed.

Here's the before and after.  Disclaimer: I had absolutely nothing to do with the previous choice of upholstery fabric and the chair is a sentimental object to my husband, so it had to stay - awkward proportions and all.  Please forgive the flash, which distorts the colors of the fabric so they seem really different.  They're not: the first two flash-less photos are the color-accurate ones.

I'm happy overall with how it turned out and it's certainly light years better than it was.  Doing it again, I think I'd make the horizontal strip that wraps around the loose cushion leather and keep the arms completely mohair - I'm not sure I like the leather on the arms.  Also, do I need to ask for softer foam in the loose cushion.  It is WAY firmer than before - pretty much rigid actually.  Hopefully a simple fix.  Oh, and maybe a loose stitch at each corner of the skirt - the bulkiness of the doubled-over fabric seems a bit poofy.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Window treatment for the master bathroom

We received the new London shade for the master bathroom on the weekend.

I'm still not used to seeing it there but I think I like it.  Unobtrusive but not boring - a quiet finishing touch.  And it was SO great to throw out the temporary shade!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Just found that curtain photo I was looking for

This is the photo I mentioned a couple of posts back - the one that gave me the idea to try a deep rich brown against my white sheets and nude wall paint:


Thank goodness for other people's blogs!  (Wish I could remember where I first saw this so I could give credit...)