Sad News-Shabby Chic in Chapter 11

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Things have been tough all over, especially in the home furnishing industry.

A few days ago Shabby Chic filed Chapter 11 bankrupcy protection. See the complete posting here...

Shabby Chic was a pioneer in its time twenty years ago. Making slip-covered furniture into a style that is widely-copied, it made girly decorating into a huge trend that is still going strong even today.

Let's hope that the company will come out of this ok.

Photo of Shabby Chic's first store:

November 2009-UPDATE

Shabby Chic has re-invented itself. Read more about it from the NY Times.

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Knob Snob

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I've been searching through my stash of knobs. I like to buy interesting knobs when I find them at thrift stores, and when they're on sale or clearance at craft and hardware stores. Knobs can be pricey, that's why I'm always on the lookout for good deals.
Changing knobs, and other hardware, is the easiest way to update a piece of furniture or the cabinets in your home. I always advise people to change out their knobs and pulls to give their home a more up-to-date look. Even if you can't afford to buy new hardware, you can afford a can of spray paint. All you need to do is take off your old hardware and give it a really good cleaning. Apply a coat of good primer. When it's dry, apply a couple of coats of one of the metallic finish spray paints. You'll be amazed at how different your cabinets look with updated hardware.
I like to change the hardware on my furniture too, to give it a bit more character.
I've changed the knobs on my antique sideboard.
I put an over-sized knob on my entry table.I changed the hardware on the armoire in my bedroom from this:(Seriously, how can you pull open a big ol' door using that little thing)
To this:
Today I changed out the knobs on a dresser in the guest room that belonged to my grandmother. Doesn't it look pretty sitting in front of those gray walls. Am I going to paint it? Not on your life! As much as I love painted furniture, I want this piece to look close to what it did when my grandmother used it. Years ago, when this dresser was in our master bedroom, I loved the look of the white porcelain knobs. My decor, at the time, was a little bit country. Now I want to give the dresser knobs that are more classic and traditional.

Lucky for me, I found a bag of antique glass knobs.
These are the real deal, not reproductions.
A little bit of work and few minutes later,
and grandma's dresser looks so much better!
Ahh, for the love of knobs!

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Modern Wallpaper from Astek

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We've been seeing a lot of Astek lately. From "Top Design" to "Elle Decor", we see their products featured everywhere. No wonder, as the company makes some wonderful wallpapers with a wide range of styles. We particularly like their modern collection. It totally rocks!

Pricing is reasonable too (about $50-60/roll). You can buy them directly at the Astek web site.

Here are some that we thought are really cool:

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Luxury Bedding from Legacy Linens

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We love beautiful bedding. To us, it's the first thing we look at when we enter a bedroom. It's also one of those things totally worth splurging on. After all, was it a true statistic somewhere that we spend 2/3 of our lives in bed?

We found this bedding line from Legacy Linens that we just love. It's luxury bedding that you can actually sleep on, you know. We can't stand frou-frou bedding that looks great but totally impractical. To us, luxury linens must look good but most importantly, it must be comfortable to sleep in.

Here are some samples of Legacy Luxury Bedding. We don't have it listed on our web site (it's way too complicated to sell bedding on line as there SO many pieces in a bedding ensemble). If you need product or pricing information, please drop us a line.

As pretty as there are, they look even better in person!

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Michael Smith-The Interior Designer

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Michael Smith is in the news a lot lately. First because he is the interior designer that was chosen to redo the White House for the Obama (we heard through the grapevine that the budget was $100,000. A hundred Ks? It must be a joke, no?).

But more importantly, Michael Smith was the designer who did Thain's office (the recently-ousted CEO of Merrill Lynch) for $1.2M. Ever heard of a $87,000 rug? We haven't either.

All that aside though, Mr. Smith is a brilliant designer. Elle Decor just did a full spread on him that worth checking out.

Here are some pictures (courtesy of Elle Decor).

What do you think? Is it all that?

If you are interested in learning more about Michael Smith's style, here are some books worth checking out:

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Small Room, Small Touches

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I love a linen closet full of pretty, white towels! It makes me smile every time I open the closet door. However, I don't really enjoy having white towels adorning my towel rods. Because my bathroom colors are very neutral, I like to bring in an accent color using towels. I change the towel color depending on the season, month, or my mood. For January I had an aqua towel with a brown towels along with a little aqua colored snowflake in the windowsill. I use those same brown towels during the fall months with along with deep red towels. The red towels work for Christmas and Valentine's day too. I don't need a bunch of different colored towels, just a few basic colors that can be mixed together for different combination's of color.
If you don't want to change your towels, then change the accessory that sits on the counter or shelf. Try tying a pretty seasonal ribbon around a towel or accessory. Look! I even hung a few Valentine's hearts on the shower curtain using fancy paper clips. At Christmas time I do this same thing with jingle bells.

You may think this is a bit odd, but I think that the bathroom is the one room where you have to sit for a while during your busy day, so why not change the decorations in it, the way you do the more public places in your home? Go ahead! Freshen things up, make your bathroom a pretty place, and have fun decorating it just as you do other rooms in your home.

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Ceramic Garden Stools from Legends of Asia

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For some reasons these garden stools are so popular. Is it because they are displayed in all the chic hotels like the Morgans in Palm Springs (all in white). Or is it because they are just fun?

We found a company that makes the pretty ceramic garden stools in different patterns instead of just plain solid colors. We think they are really cute! Prices are reasonable too (about $150-$250 each with free shipping).

Here are some samples of the stools. We'll be adding them on the site soon but if you are interested in them before then, please email us.

If you are into Asian home decor, check out Legends of Asia web site. They really have some great Asian-inspired stuff.

This white one comes in several others colors...

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Decorative Pillows from Ryan Studios

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When we feel like we need a pick-me-up, we usually get a quattro venti latte. In case of home decorating though, the equivalent would be to pick up some pillows. It's a nice way to perk things up without spending lots of money.

Good pillows are hard to find --surprisingly. It is such a simple product to make yet it's quite difficult to find elegant, classy pillows that are tasteful yet affordable.

Here is a luxury decorative pillow line that we really like. They are filled with down and generously-sized. The fabrics/colors are fabulous! The price range between $150-$225.

Here are some samples. You can see the rest of the decorative pillows here.

The company also makes beautiful bedding. Check out their web site here...

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A Sweet Thought

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Wouldn't this little tree look beautiful covered with handcut hearts containing handwritten sentiments of love to and from each member of my family, each handtied with pretty satin ribbon?

YES! It would!
But in a home where the males outrank the females four to one, it's just not going to happen. So this will have to do.***UPDATED to ADD: I found the sweet tree at the thrift store, but you could easily make your own with a branch from the yard, painted white and stuck in an urn with stryofoam or plaster of paris.***

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Candlelight and Romance

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Nothing creates the feel of romance more than candlelight. Candles are an easy way to decorate for Valentine's day.
But I am here to admit that I rarely light my candles. (GASP!!!)
Sure, if I know I'm going to stay in the same room as the burning candles, I light them up. And we have a tradition of having lit candles every Sunday on our dinner table. But on a normal day, or evening, the only candle you'll find burning in my house is the scented one on the kitchen stove.That's why electric candles make me so happy. In the morning I can flip the switch on, and enjoy the "candle light" without the fear of my home catching on fire.I know there are designers and candle purists out there who would say that the glow looks fake and it's not the same as the real thing. Hey! Since when do we have to listen to the "experts" when decorating our home?!!?
I say if fake candles, fake plants, fake bricks, fake eyelashes, fake whatever, makes you happy,

Being happy with your home depends on YOU,
not on any so called "expert".Now, I will get off my soapbox
and sit and enjoy the glow of my fake candlelight.

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