Archive for June, 2009

Vase 101

DSC00705Here in New England, the peonies have bloomed, the hydrangeas are leafing up and snapdragons are just around the corner — perfect timing for a little tutorial from House Beautiful on the eight vases to have at the ready for gorgeous, simple summer arrangements:

  • Mugs
  • Trumpet-shaped
  • Collection of bud vases
  • Cylinder
  • Ginger jar
  • Pitcher
  • Footed bowl
  • Regular bowl

My go-to vase right now isn’t even meant for flowers…it’s an IKEA glass placed carefully into a small drawstring bag I picked up late last month at Les Toiles du Soleil in New York (I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with that little bag when I bought it, but I knew I had to have it!).

{Find House Beautiful’s eight favorite vases and sample floral arrangements here.}


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ps_logoPursuant to last week’s post on Les Toiles du Soleil, I am happy to report that Paper Source is carrying a small collection of the delicious striped canvas online!  So for those of you who won’t be making it to New York anytime soon, and aren’t too jazzed about ordering over the phone, you can order by the meter here!

Image credit: Paper Source

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Chroma Lab ChairOnce upon a time, after an auspicious run-in with a $20 drop leaf table, some rockin’ Paper Source paper and a good deal of Mod Podge, I had fantasies of making a living reinventing Craig’s List furniture into masterpieces.  That was until it took me five days to scrape, sand and do a masterfully bad job of decoupaging my bargain.  I was so tired after the experience that I still (almost a year later) haven’t found the where-with-all to refinish the table legs.

Turns out someone else had my great idea, but was far better equipped to deliver on it.  While browsing the SoWa Market yesterday in Boston’s South End, my pal Greer and I had the good fortune of coming upon Jamaica Plain-based Chroma Lab.  Owners Alicia Cornwell and Tony Bevilacqua transform vintage pieces in need of some love and attention (and maybe some nails and glue too) and turn them into things of beauty.  I was drawn to Alicia and Tony’s tent because of this joyful Marimekko-covered chair, but once inside discovered even more swoon-worthy items including a pair of sinuous yellow lamps and the practical-joking Pretend Table, faux bois-finished with the wood grain likeness so real that it wasn’t until I got home and was checking out their site that I realized the piece was painted.

Pretend Table

Best of all (I think) is that they do custom jobs — so if you have a piece-of-junk dresser that you are ready to trash, get in touch with them and be prepared to fall in love.

Image credit: Chroma Lab

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Napkin RingsBetween the family events of last weekend and my little brother’s college graduation tomorrow, entertaining and celebrating have been on my mind.  I love creating beautiful table settings (or “tablescapes” in design-ese), so whenever I see interesting linens, dinnerware or other tabletop accessories, I’m instantly drawn.  My latest table candy?  These colorful (and functional) grosgrain ribbon “belt” napkin rings from Social Couture.  At $12 for 8, I’m not sure you could even make them for less…

Image credit: Social Couture

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Stephen DruckerLooks like I’m not the only one who loves Thomas O’Brien’s Vintage Modern Towels from Target.  Check out the personal list of favorite home products from House Beautiful Editor In Chief Stephen Drucker.  I’m a big fan of his favorite kitchen gadget too.

Glad to know I’m keeping such good company…

Image credit: House Beautiful

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DSC00540This weekend, I happened to be in New York City for some family events (including helping to pack up the house that my stepmom, little brothers and Dad lived in for nearly two decades).  Luckily, on the way down to the city I had been perusing the June issue of Martha Stewart Living and came across a mention of Les Toiles du Soleil — a French company that has produced bright, sophisticated striped cotton canvas for more than 150 years — which had opened its first U.S. boutique last winter.  I’ve had a fascination with this fabric ever since I gave my bridesmaids a tote and cosmetic bag made from it from the now defunct Martha Stewart catalog (oh, how I miss that!), so I was determined to find a slice of time to get there. 

DSC00543Saturday afternoon, with a window of just 90 minutes, my aunts and I hightailed it on the A train down to Chelsea, and Les Toiles du Soleil did not disappoint.  Combine the cheery surroundings with the equally cheery and hip store owner Sandrine, and I was instantly smitten.  The store was a visual feast — bolts of fabric hanging on racks and piled up on top of each other, blackboards displaying prices, neat stacks of tables linens, cosmetic bags and fabric-covered notebooks, and galvanized tubs filled with pillows — I felt instantly transported to a little shop in France (not that I’ve ever been there, but I have a good imagination, and Sandrine’s charming accent helped).  But what really struck me was how, well, affordable everything seemed.  For $58, you can score a yard of the many classic 72″ striped canvas choices, and just $20 more buys you a yard of the water-resistant Sunbrella ones.  They also have an in-store seamstress who can make nearly anything you imagine(curtains, table cloths, deck chairs, roller shades, totes, you name it).  The thing I’ve been stuck on since I’ve left though is the shop’s incredible oilcloth (this is not your grandmother’s red and white check picnic table covering).  For just under $100, I’m going to transform an old IKEA table into an easy-to-clean candy-striped art space.  Yum.

Les Toiles Du Soleil, 261 West 19th Street, New York.  Purchases can be made over the phone or by visiting the shop…don’t miss it if you find yourself  in New York!

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