Monday, July 26, 2010

Color - The Series..." This Is Fred"

"Color is like sex:  powerful, magnetic, used to sell things and impossible to understand - although lots of people pretend to.  We respond instantly and primally to color.  It can seduce or repel us, bring us joy or sadness, relax us or drive us into a frenzy." 

What a powerful opening statement!  It was taken from an article entitled "For the Love of Color"  by Carol Venolia in the latest edition of Natural Home Magazine.  It explores the effects color has on our minds.

In the next series of posts, I want to relate to color in a different the colors of nature influence the colors and interior design of our homes.  Animals, flowers, mountains, and earth...visual and tactile....I'm really going to bring the outside in!


This is my pet groundhog, Fred.  Ok, he's not my pet.  Fred just looks adorable, lives on my property and eats all the food growing in my garden. Come to think of it, Fred sounds like my kids!

Fred has the most luxurious coat - deep rich brown, underlayed with soft black and highlighted with a silver grey.  He reminds me of a couple of beautiful fabrics from Norbar.

 This one is Arvida in Walnut from the Etna collection.  Soft, suede-y brown in a herringbone pattern  with undertones of black and a slight sheen in the right light.

Pulse in Charbrown is a wonderfully soft two-toned fabric, perfect for that comfortable club chair you want to curl up in when you need a warm cup of tea and a good book.

 And then there are moments when Fred reminds me of a piece of furniture - tall (in the groundhog world!), solid and probably sticking around for a long time!  Gotta love Fred!

Stay tuned for more posts in the Color Series...!

“The world is your kaleidoscope, and the varying combinations of colors which at every succeeding moment it presents to you are the exquisitely adjusted pictures of your ever-moving thoughts.” 

James Edward Allen, American Artist, 1894 - 1964

Monday, July 19, 2010

Remodel and Live To Tell About It! (Part 3 of 3)

"There is light at the end of the tunnel...!" ( Last post of the Remodeling Series)

PLANNING, PLANNING, PLANNING!! I can't stress it enough!! You and your contractor should touch base on a daily basis. You should also schedule weekly meetings between your designer, your contractor and yourself to make sure everyone is on the same page and work is progressing in a timely manner.

You not only have to plan out your remodel, you have to plan out how you are going to LIVE THROUGH your remodel!

Kitchens - Will you have access to a stove, refrigerator, microwave? If not, have those take-out phone numbers ready!!

Baths - Will you have access to a toilet and shower in another part of the house?  If the answer is no, refer to the next paragraph!

Whole House Rehab - Will you and/or your furnishings have to move out for all or part of the remodel? The cost has to be figured into your budget.

Remember, even when you plan everything down to the smallest detail, there will still be surprises. Expect them and build a 10-20% cushion into your budget. I didn't expect that my town would ask for a septic inspection on my four year old septic tank. Five hundred dollars later, I realized that these little "extras" were going to pop up - and we hadn't even started the construction yet!

Expect that the job will take longer than estimated. Weather, inspections, busy subs and back ordered stock are all out of your control. If you have a deadline for finishing a project, add on at least 20% to the time frame. Make sure your contractor is doing everything he can to avoid delays.

Expect your life to be chaotic and inconvenienced. No one said this was going to be easy!! Keep the lines of communication open with everyone involved....contractor, designer, and especially family members. Sometimes you may have to compromise and sometimes you need to find a solution that makes everyone happy. There were times my husband and I disagreed, but instead of fighting about it, we talked about the pros and cons and gave ourselves time to come up with a different solution. Usually, the new solution gave us both what we wanted!

Remodels don't last forever. When I got to serve Thanksgiving dinner to my family in our new dining room, the chaos of the last few months became a distant memory and worth everything we had to go through to get there!                                                           


"Its not about the destination. It's about the journey. Enjoy the ride!"

Sunday, July 11, 2010

"Lulu's Potting Shed"

"Reflecting on Danvers History Through Interior Design" is a showcase of room vignettes created by interior designers and artists from the northshore of Boston and surrounding areas.  Some of the vignettes include furniture and accessories from the Danvers Historical Society's own collection.

My vignette is a tribute to Louise "Lulu" Thoron Endicott .  Louise summered at Glen Magna Farms in Danvers and was not afraid to dig in and get her hands dirty, tending to the gardens she loved.

The designers were all given an 8' x 5' space to use.  I came into this process a little late (typical for me!) and had about five minutes to come up with an idea.  All the other areas were of "inside" rooms, so I decided to take mine "outside".  Although I wouldn't consider this a "shed", it's more like a very comfortable potting room. All floral arrangements had to be "faux", so as not to bring insects into the building.  I purchased all the flowers and bulbs from Grenon's Trading Company in Bedford, NH.  They have a wonderful selection of artificial flowers and herbs (quite real looking!) , pots, ribbons, crafts and even fake dirt!!  I "potted" all my own arrangements to get into the mood of the vignette.  Playing with fake dirt is even messier than the real thing!

The table, chair and sundial (hidden behind the chair in this picture) are from the historical society's own collection.  The framed photographs were scanned from original photos (circa 1920) taken of the Glen Magna Farms gardens and buildings.  Framing was done by Rose Framing (me!).  An antique crate holds glass jars of vegetable seeds.  The bench to the left was a special find to complete the room - real hickory branches make up the legs and the cushion looks like a needlepoint rug bursting with bright gold sunflowers.

Mary Donovan from First Rugs of Danvers and Acton, MA provided most of the wonderful rugs used at the show. The one in my vignette is a hand knotted wool Pakistani in a Persian Sultanabad design.  A special thanks to Gabriella Fitzgerald from Inspired Designs of Topsfield for making my chair cushion.

Saturday, July 10th was our preview party.  The vignettes were "unwrapped" and Tapley Hall was transformed into wonderful nooks of design.

                  Irene Kucinski of Santorini Design, Danvers MA in her vignette "Young Girl's Bedroom"

  Yvonne Blacker, Yvonne Blacker Interiors, Lynnfield, MA inside her beautiful  " Summer Nursery".

Sandra Biondo, Sandra Biondo Interiors, Danvers MA, Chairwoman of the event and all around miracle worker,  (She held the rain off for our party!) created this lovely Art Deco style vignette along with several others.

I just want to acknowledge Sandra Biondo (Chairwoman) and Cathy Gareri (Coordinator) for going above and beyond in order to pull the show and all its events together!  You ladies are truly superwomen!

We are very grateful for the attendance of Keith Lemerise, Publisher, Coastal Home Magazine, Gail Ravgiala, Editor, Design New England Magazine, Andrea Kolden, New England Home and Eric Roth, Eric Roth Photography, renowned photographer of high-end interiors.  Having such notables in the field of design publications gives us validation for all the hard work that went into creating the vignettes.

Come out and see the show! July 11 - August 1, 2010.  Tapley Memorial Hall, Page Street, Danvers, MA.  Show hours:  Wednesdays 10-4, Thursdays 10-7, Fridays 10-7, Saturdays 10-4 and Sundays 1-4.  Proceeds benefit the preservation mission of the Danvers Historical Society.  For more information on Glen Magna Farms Garden Tours and events associated with the show, please contact the Danvers Historical Society Office: or 978-777-1666.
"Life takes us to unexpected places...Love brings us home." - taken from the chair pillow used in the vignette. (Who knew pillows could be so wise!)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Remodel and Live to Tell About It! (Part 2 of 3)

The last time I took you from start... to finding a contractor. The saga continues...

After you get some estimates and pick yourself up off the floor from a dead faint (yes, it's going to cost more than you thought), you can refer to your list of priorities and extras and see what stays and what goes. A fireplace in the dining room was one of my extras that was put on the chopping block. We opted for more windows and a view of the forest , which was more cost effective.

Once you agree on a contractor and the scope of the job, your next step should be to hire an interior designer if you don't already have one. Besides making your home "look nice", an interior designer can fill in the gaps between you and your contractor. Before the plans are drawn up, discuss the functions of the new space. What furniture are you keeping? What would you like to add to the room? Space planning is extremely important. You don't want to complete a remodel and realize your Great Aunt Edna's armoire is 12 inches too long for the wall. If you have a furniture plan, you can make sure that wall and window placement will work. My contractor was constantly asking me questions such as "How much space do you need between these windows?" and "Does this wall have to be exactly 60 inches?" I referred to my furniture layout and I knew exactly how much space I needed. Knowing your furniture placement also helps with lighting and and electrical plans. You don't want to have a "V8 moment" when you realize that you didn't include floor plugs for your lamp tables that are floating in the middle of the room.

Your designer can also help you choose paint colors, flooring, fixtures, and cabinets. The earlier these items are ordered, the smoother your remodel will go.

To Be Continued....

"It's not about the destination. It's about the journey. Enjoy the ride!"

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Reflecting on Danvers History Through Interior Design

For all my readers living on the Northshore of Boston....

The Danvers Historical Society is sponsoring a design show featuring several of the area's very talented and creative interior designers and artists. Tapley Memorial Hall, 13 Page Street in Danvers, will come alive with rooms from the past and present with a nod to the history and artistry born in Danvers. Some vignettes will be displaying furniture from the Historical Society's own collection. The main event will go from July 11th through August 1st. The public will have the opportunity to view the room vignettes, tour the gardens of Glen Magna Farms, listen to an historical lecture, and meet the designers at a High Tea! The Historical Lecture, Lunch and Garden Tour is July 16th at 11:00 am at Glen Magna Farms, Ingersoll St., Danvers. "Meet The Designers" High Tea is July 21st at 4:00pm, also at Glen Magna Farms.

The Designers have been working hard setting up their vignettes. Come on out and make a day of it! If you can't attend one of the events, stop by to see the vignettes at Tapley Memorial Hall, then stroll down the main street of Danvers for some shopping or a bite of lunch.

Below are some pictures of my vignette "in progress". Finishing touches are next week! My vignette is entitled "Lulu's Potting Shed", in honor of Louise Thoron Endicott who spent many summers enjoying the beauty and gardens of Glen Magna Farms.

For tickets, dates and times, please contact the Danvers Historical Society Office: or 978-777-1666. Proceeds benefit the preservation mission of the Danvers Historical Society.