Monday, September 30, 2013

New Lamp for the Living Room

This corner of our living room needed a new reading lamp. The table lamp we had been using was tippy (one little bump sent it tumbling) and it wasn't the right height for reading by. Also, the scale of this club chair called for a more substantially sized lamp.

In looking for a new floor lamp, there were several criteria that had to be met. 
  • One: it had to have a fairly narrow footprint.
  • Two: it had to be adjustable in height.
  • Three: it had to have a finish that would go well in our room (no chrome or brass).
  • Four: it had to be good quality but also affordable. 
After buying -- and returning -- a lamp from Pottery Barn (poor quality, several scratches), I searched online and found this Denley floor lamp from Crate & Barrel. I ordered it in July but it was on backorder -- we just received it last week.

We're very pleased with the quality, the price (it went on sale while it was on backorder and they granted me the sale price), and the style. We love the combination of wood and metal, and the organic feel of the linen drum shade fits right in with our decorating style.


Here are some details about this little corner of the living room: 
  • the leather chair is one we purchased many years ago through a friend who worked in the furniture industry; we got it for about half the retail cost.
  • the pillow is from Room & Board
  • the Danish teak table is one of a set of three nesting tables that had belonged to my parents and dates to the early 1960s
  • the framed photo on the table is one I entered into an art contest at work (I didn't win)
  • the library book is The Perfume Collector. I just started it. Have you read it?
  • the painting on the wall belonged to my grandmother; I don't know anything about it, other than it is old.
  • the little green planter on the mantle is vintage, probably from the 60s
  • the stained glass hanging in the window was made by a regional artist
  • the vase is wooden; I have no idea where we purchased it, but I see a lot of similar pieces through Crate & Barrel and West Elm.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Home Tour 2013

It's that time of year again! Time for my favorite home tour and to share some photos with you. Unfortunately this year I didn't get as many photos due to the drizzly weather. Luckily for us, the serious rain held off until after we were done with the tour.

There were nine homes on the tour this year. One was a 1903 house now occupied by an insurance company; not particularly interesting from a decorating perspective, but great architectural features, including a turret. Another house, built in 1900, was unoccupied and on the market for $1,150,000. Only the front living room was "staged" (poorly, at that) and the house smelled like cat urine, but it was still interesting to tour the 4,500-square-foot house with six bedrooms, four bathrooms, 12' ceilings, stained glass and leaded glass windows and a totally updated, modern kitchen.

Now on to my favorite homes and some exterior photos (unfortunately, no photography allowed indoors). Of my three favorites, two were new construction and one was older and small (like our home!) and full of charm. The first house below was my favorite. Its size is deceptive from the front; the house extends far out in the back and has over 4,000 square feet. There are two outdoor spaces for entertaining overlooking the woods and a little creek that runs alongside the property (the owner, an interior designer, told us they have a family of deer who come in the mornings with their little fawn, which is crazy because they're in the middle of the city!). This house is perfectly decorated, but feels comfortable and livable. 

The next house, built in 1928 with two bedrooms and two baths, is adorable. The owner, a single woman, has a very eclectic style. Throughout the approximately 1,400-square-foot home are cool antiques including gothic-style light fixtures, church pews and ornately carved wooden chairs. There's a lot of personal style in this home! The home's original fireplace, glass doorknobs and other features really appealed to me.  There's also a sweet little courtyard out back, accessible through French doors from the kitchen. I could move right into this little house.

The third of my favorite homes had lots of people going in and out and I couldn't get a good photo, but let me just say that the place was amazing, especially inside! The home owners spared no expense in building their new 6,500-square-foot modern Arts & Crafts style home. I didn't really love the outside, but inside was a different story. From the artwork and custom iron stair railings to the bamboo floors (in a pattern I've never seen before) and stone walls, the interior was truly incredible. The garage features an elevator that lowers a car into the basement for extra parking -- really! On the second floor of the home, a hidden ladder leads to a secret kids' playroom in the attic space (no adults allowed).  The backyard features a luxurious entertaining area with outdoor kitchen, pool, hot tub and lounge, plus a mini basketball court for the kids. It's no wonder this home was featured in a magazine! 

I did take this photo in the home's side yard for reference, as we'd like to do something similar with stones along the side of our house. I love this style of outdoor lighting also.

The next home, a bungalow built in 1910, was originally 1,400 square feet and for several decades housed a family of 13! The current owners transformed it into a 4,000-square-foot home with four bedrooms, five full baths and finished basement. Behind the house is an amazing 900-square-foot, two-bedroom, one-bath guest house (with full kitchen) above a two-car garage. This home is very cute inside, but I think I liked the guest house even more! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Nectarine and Hazelnut Galette

I hope my friends in the states enjoyed a relaxing, long Labor Day weekend. Ours was quite low-key. My husband came down with some sickness Thursday evening and stayed home from work Friday. Rather than feeling better, he got worse as the weekend progressed. We did make it to the movies on Saturday to see Blue Jasmine starring Cate Blanchett (her performance was excellent). But the rest of the time we laid low, my husband spending most of the weekend in bed. Poor guy.

Early Sunday morning I took advantage of the cool morning air to do some deadheading on our large dahlia plant. I was enjoying the quiet and the cool air when all of a sudden I was stung on my left pinkie finger by a bumble bee. Apparently he had been asleep in one of the flowers and didn't appreciate the rude awakening. Boy, did it hurt! Ice and Advil were somewhat helpful, and by Sunday afternoon my finger was a little better. But Monday morning I awoke with a much more swollen finger that was red, hot and extremely itchy. The redness had spread into the knuckle area of my left hand. I was starting to think it might be infected, but a friend advised me to give it some time, saying the second and third days after a bee sting can feel even worse. 

As Monday progressed, my finger began to show signs of improvement, so I decided to do some baking. I had some pretty nectarines from the farmer's market which were perfect for a nectarine and hazelnut galette from Everyday Food. You can find the recipe here.

As with most recipes, the actual prep time takes a lot longer than the prep time stated. This recipe has the prep time at 20 minutes. What? It took me nearly that long to remove all the pesky skins from the hazelnuts! All in all, I found this recipe to be a little labor intensive, but the end result is delicious. Sadly, my husband didn't care for it. He's not a fan of stone fruit desserts (something about the texture of the fruit once it's cooked). If you give it a try, let me know what you think!
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