Kitchen Lust

April 7, 2009

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So I cooked in the new apartment for the first time yesterday. One Moroccan stew and a batch of scones later, I can definitively say that we have the least functional kitchen in the history of the world. Don’t get me wrong–I love our place–but I’m at that stage of the move where my patience is short and my list of chores is very, very long. So indulge me as I torture myself with these yummy kitchen images…

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I’m quite intrigued by the idea of a chandelier in the kitchen, as in the above two photos. It’s a cheeky, winky touch–but of course anything is nicer than the bare bulb currently hanging over my stove. And that checkerboard floor? Our kitchen in Brooklyn had one just like this. Ask me how much I miss that!

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I will never, ever tire of a simple kitchen in clean, neutral shades. White cupboards, bright marble countertops, touches of graphic black. Could anything be more perfect? Of course if you plopped me down in the lovely grey and taupe room below, I wouldn’t complain. This image is from Martha’s kitchen–surprise, surprise!

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Lately I’m also loving the combination of whites and blacks with warm woods. This kitchen hits the nail on the head; it’s sleek and streamlined, but it still feels really warm and livable. That island is so swoonworthy too!

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However there are things to be thankful for in my new (albeit challenging) kitchen. For starters, I love the gas range. Mixing the scones with almost no counter space was difficult, but once those babies were in the oven they baked up beautifully.

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The sink clogs if I so much as sneeze, but it is the original porcelain basin from when the building was constructed in 1927. With a plunger and some Bon Ami, it should be good as new!

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The eat-in area of the kitchen is quite spacious, and one wall is comprised entirely of windows that look onto a rooftop garden. It’s a lovely spot to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning!

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And in the end, aren’t storage and workspace issues just an opportunity for creative problem solving? An antique hutch would look charming filled with my wedding china and would free up cupboard space for pots and pans.

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The merits of open shelving are much debated in blogland. Are you for or against? I’ll probably end up in installing some out of sheer necessity. Think of it as motivation to keep my dishes super tidy!

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Plus then I can scout out some fun canisters to keep pantry staples like flour and sugar on hand. Don’t worry—I’ll be mistress of the new kitchen in no time flat!

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Let’s talk kitchens a little more: Does yours have any quirks or petty annoyances? What would your dream kitchen be like?

Image credits: 1. Jason Loucas 2. Source Unknown 3. Emily Followill 4. Gentl and Hyers 5. Emily Followill 6. Domino 7. Anna Williams 8. Annie Schlecter 9. Jason Loucas 10. Domino 11. James Tse

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Green and Gorgeous Giveaway: Pillows from Fabricadabra

April 6, 2009

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This week's giveaway is proof that style and sustainability can go hand in hand. The brainchild of a veteran of the textiles industry, Fabricadabra offers decorative pillows that are made from natural fibers using natural or low impact dyes. From stunning handwoven Ikats to soft and chic organic cottons and beyond, these are pillows you can feel good about snuggling up to! Fabricadabra also sells pillow inserts made from a fiber called kapok, which is a healthier and eco-friendly alternative to synthetic stuffing.

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One lucky reader will win the pillow of her choice! Just head to the Fabricadabra website and scope out your favourite pillow, then leave a comment telling me what it is. I'll randomly draw a name and the winner will go down in cushion history!

Bravest. Decorating. Move. Ever.

April 5, 2009

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I am completely enamoured with this image. Can you imagine the courage required to commit to this much colour and pattern? It’s no surprise that the room is from the home of Chloe Sevigny, who is always courageous (and fabulous!) in her choice of projects, fashion, and apparently, decor!

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend! Mine was busy indeed; we’re still setting up the new house. I’ll be back later today with a terrific giveaway, just as soon as I can track down a reliable internet connection!

Image Credit: Francois Halard

Book Review: Perfect English by Ros Byam Shaw

April 3, 2009

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Perfect English by Ros Byam Shaw is one of those books: one for which you’ll want to set aside a whole afternoon, turn off your phone, brew a big pot of tea, and spend hours immersed in the engaging text and delectable photos. Like that other great English institution Mary Poppins, it is practically perfect in every way.**

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It has everything you’d expect from a book about English interiors: plump tufted chesterfields, sumptuous chinoiserie wallcoverings, and antiques galore! I’m pretty much convinced that every house in the British Isles has a hidden attic filled with glorious remnants from times passed…

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But there’s so much more to this book than manor houses and country estates. An entire chapter is devoted to that weathered, spare aesthetic that the English do so well. Modern furnishings mix with rustic architecture to create rooms that seem to stand still in time.

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When it comes to interiors, ‘shaggy’ isn’t usually a desirable adjective. However, this bright and cozy living room takes shaggy to unseen heights of splendour!

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Perhaps I’ve read one too many Regency-era romance novels, but I picture all English children playing with charming and wholesome toys like rolling hoops and spinning tops. This vignette is proof of that, right? Right? (Please don’t burst my bubble on this one, folks!)

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Apparently the owner of this home wanted her living room to ‘look like Biba‘. Hence the
madcap mix of ethnic textiles, boho granny florals, and riotous color. As Austin Powers would
say, ‘Very grrrr, baby!’

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Where do I even begin with this spectacular dining room? The marble floor, the classic lines of the chairs paired with the playful farmhouse linens, the botanical folding screen? Oh, and shouldn’t every home worth its salt should have a giant framed butterfly collection?

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Of course if minimalism is more your scene, there’s nothing like a pure white room with
some carefully edited vintage tableware. Don’t you love the unexpected presence of those
red leather chairs?

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Reason No. 459 to start a teacup collection? To have a breakfast nook as sunny and cheerful as this one! (Better not ask me what the other 458 reasons are; I’m sure I could come up with them, and that would just be frightening for us all.)

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And speaking of collections, Eddie Ross eat your heart out! Have you ever seen so many
ironstone vessels in once place? I have a feeling that woman above the mantel has heard the rumours about my propensity for breaking delicate objects. The expression on her face screams, ‘Look but don’t touch, Anne!’

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All images courtesy of Perfect English by Ros Byam Shaw, photography by Chris Tubbs. A huge thanks to Chelsea from Frolic for the find—she too is ‘practically perfect in every way’. Have a beautiful weekend everyone!

**With most sincere apologies for dredging up every British stereotype under the sun!

An Open Letter to One Kings Lane

April 2, 2009

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“Dear One Kings Lane: Has the devil sent you? Are you trying to get me in trouble? As if I didn’t face temptation enough with insider fashion sales from Gilt.com and RueLaLa, you had come along and lure me in with your luxe home decor offerings at jaw-droppingly deep discounts. You make me feel special with your invite-only membership, and you test my resolve with incredible prices on everything from covetable DwellStudio table linens to sweet sheet sets from Serena and Lily.

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So maybe we can strike a bargain. Since we know I’ll be stalking your website 24/7 anyway, maybe I could put in a request for some brands I’d like to see in the future? Collections that I drool over but can’t bring myself to pay full price for, like decoupage plates from John Derian, uber-riche home accessories from Bottega Veneta, delicate ceramics from Astier de Villate, and exotic skin pieces from R&Y Augousti. C’mon, hook a girl up. It’s the least you can do. Yours affectionately, Anne.”

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Want an invite to One Kings Lane? Email me at your own risk! anne@annesage.com

Want Blissliving Home for free? Today’s the last day to enter this week’s giveaway!

Creating Space with Soul

April 1, 2009

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Nothing makes you reflect on life’s profound questions like packing all your worldly possessions into boxes. As I look around my increasingly bare apartment and think ahead to the new space that we will soon occupy, I wonder: how do you breathe life into empty rooms? What makes a house a home?

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Is it the photos and paintings on the wall, records of faces seen and moments passed?

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Is it the books on your shelves, their pages telling not only their own tales but also stories of who and where you were when you read them?

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Is it the smells from the kitchen, the fragrance of birthday cakes and holiday pies, the scent of life’s celebrations feted through food?

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Is it collections acquired and displayed, the pieces coming together over time until they threaten to take over curio cabinets, mantlepieces and tabletops?

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Is it turning nooks and crannies into opportunities to delight and surprise, taking seemingly useless corners and making spots for reading, napping, sipping tea?

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Is it finding the light, exploring the best sun puddles for taking photos, growing houseplants, whiling away the afternoon?

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Is it creating new routines, discovering where the olive oil should be kept for easy access, determining exactly how many appliances you can store on the counter before you no
longer have room to cook?

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Is it the sounds through the window as you sip your morning coffee, the call of birds and the hum of traffic as the world starts its day?

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Is it learning the idiosyncrasies of the bathroom, perfecting the exact rotation of the taps for optimum water temperature, remembering to close the shower curtain that extra inch so you don’t flood the floor?

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Or is it the warm bodies that share the space with you, the ones you carry in your heart no matter where your next move may take you?

Of course it’s all these things and more. So tell me: How do you make your house a home?

Image Credits: 1. Domino 2. Source Unknown 3. Tiny K 4. Roland Bello 5. New Moroccan Style 6. Simon Bevan via Desire to Inspire 7. Urban Eco Chic 8. Found Style 9. Domino 10. Found Style 11. Found Style

For the Boudoir: Kari Herer Photography

March 31, 2009

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Now that I have my own personal dressing room in which to lounge about and eat bonbons (the huz keeps calling it ‘our closet’ but he’ll learn the error of his ways soon enough) I’m on the lookout for feminine (not girly) design inspiration. The Peonies series from photographer Kari Herer fits the bill perfectly; if ever there were photographs that I could design a room around, these are the ones!

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I can’t get over how exquisite these photos are. The textural tone-on-tone details of the petals, the deep blue of the background: they are at once earthy and otherworldly, and they would be a perfect jumping off point for creating a sumptuous retreat. Can’t you just see the color palette of white and midnight blue with touches of soft pink and foliage green? I feel an inspiration board coming on—but it’ll have to wait until I finish packing all my possessions into boxes!

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P.S. Does anyone in the SF Bay Area want an antique pecan wood dining set? It’s yours free if you can figure out how to transport it! Email me: anne@annesage.com.

P.P.S. I apologize preemptively if I neglect to return your comments this week. I promise I’ll be my usual chatty self as soon as we’re settled in the new place!

P.P.P.S. Want a gorgeous Blissliving Home pillow for free? Try your luck here!

So Thrilled! And Some Pretty Pictures Too…

March 30, 2009

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I have the most exciting news: we’re moving to a beyond gorgeous new apartment! Our current place is a nondescript little box, but the new space is in a pre-war building with original details like arched doorways, opulent moulding, and coffered ceilings. My mind is racing with all the decorating possibilities. And these breathtaking images from stylist Lynsey Fryers perfectly capture my ebullience!

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The flat is just perfect for creating that mix of modern, vintage and antique that I so love. And there’s plenty of wall space for all my framed prints and photos!

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The living room is huge, and I’m really looking forward to experimenting with the ideal furniture layout for entertaining guests. A housewarming tea party will definitely be in order!

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What about the kitchen, you ask? For one thing, it has a gas stove—no more wrecking my All Clad pans on an electric stovetop! And there’s plenty of pantry storage to boot.

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Speaking of storage, the apartment has not one but two walk-in closets! I think I’ll turn one into a mini office, with lots of desk space and a bulletin board for inspiration images.

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Maybe I’ll transform the second walk-in closet–the one in the bedroom–into a ladies’ boudoir retreat. There’s going to be some serious wallpapering going down, I can tell you that much!

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The bathroom isn’t much to look at for now, but give me time. I love playing with color in a small space–our last bathroom was a deep heritage red–and maybe I’ll try something brighter this time around!

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Ooh, and I can’t forget to tell you about the exterior—all the windows look onto charming courtyard! Perhaps a cutting garden will be in order?

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At the very least, I’ll be sure to use the yard to host barbecues, outdoor brunches, and Easter Egg hunts. Bear with me this week as we only have five days to move—so posting might be sporadic. But I can’t wait to move in and share some pics of how wonderful it is! In the meantime, don’t forget to enter this week’s Blissliving giveaway!

All images courtesy of Lynsey Fryers—and I owe complete credit to Blair at Delight by Design finding her work!

Carpet Gone Wild with Fun on the Floor!

March 29, 2009

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We’ve seen before how floor coverings can elevate a space from something mundane into something marvelous. And just in case you needed more proof, check out these images from Fun on the Floor. A great online decorating resource, they’ve teamed up with craft guru Danielle Proud (aka “the sexy blonde Nigella of homemaking!”) to transform a Georgian townhouse…using carpet!

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A stairwell becomes even more dynamic with the addition of granny style Afghan squares on the steps and Paul Smith-esque wainscoting. And yes, that is a carpeted moosehead on the wall!

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I love the idea of placing a patterned insert within a solid-colored surround and using that as your guideline for arranging furniture. It creates an instant conversation space—and if that pattern happens to involve monkeys leaping across a vivid red background, it’s an instant conversation piece too!

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Moroccan interiors are famous for their use of layered woven rugs and textiles to create comfort and aesthetic appeal. Channel Kasbah chic with a carpeted backsplash and a fun DIY revamp on the standard folding chair!

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Kids’ rooms lend themselves especially well to carpet treatments; a vibrant playscape gets a little safer with the addition of some colorful cushioning. Plus I have a feeling that the grown-ups have as much fun with this space as the little ones do!

Tour the whole house here and explore Fun on the Floor for more creative home ideas with carpet!

Carpet Gone Wild with Fun on the Floor!

March 29, 2009

BIEGE_LIVINGROOM_010.jpg

We’ve seen before how floor coverings can elevate a space from something mundane into something marvelous. And just in case you needed more proof, check out these images from Fun on the Floor. A great online decorating resource, they’ve teamed up with craft guru Danielle Proud (aka “the sexy blonde Nigella of homemaking!”) to transform a Georgian townhouse…using carpet!

ENTRANCE_HALL_01-012.jpg

A stairwell becomes even more dynamic with the addition of granny style Afghan squares on the steps and Paul Smith-esque wainscoting. And yes, that is a carpeted moosehead on the wall!

GOTHIC_LIVING_RM_DETAIL_01-007.jpg

I love the idea of placing a patterned insert within a solid-colored surround and using that as your guideline for arranging furniture. It creates an instant conversation space—and if that pattern happens to involve monkeys leaping across a vivid red background, it’s an instant conversation piece too!

KIDULTHOOD_MAIN_01-010.jpg

Moroccan interiors are famous for their use of layered woven rugs and textiles to create comfort and aesthetic appeal. Channel Kasbah chic with a carpeted backsplash and a fun DIY revamp on the standard folding chair!

KIDS_BEDROOM_MAIN_01-010.jpg

Kids’ rooms lend themselves especially well to carpet treatments; a vibrant playscape gets a little safer with the addition of some colorful cushioning. Plus I have a feeling that the grown-ups have as much fun with this space as the little ones do!

Tour the whole house here and explore Fun on the Floor for more creative home ideas with carpet!